I'm back with a new fic! Hope you guys enjoy it ;)
Third Time's A Charm
The first time he met her, she was undoubtedly too young for him. The second time he was her professor and she was his student, dating some silly guy with a bow tie. Now she is back, teaching at the same university and the Doctor is determined not to let this opportunity slip away. However, Clara is now engaged to a maths teacher.
The Doctor took a large gulp of tea to wash down the biscuit and turned around to stare out of his office window, somehow knowing that this would be his year. Well, he didn't know. But he certainly hoped.
It was a new university, a new job, a new flat, new everything. Okay, technically it wasn't all new. He had taught here before for a few years, then Glasgow, then Oxford, and Glasgow again, but London always drew him back for some reason and maybe this time he would stay for good. The Doctor had accepted this job on a whim, packed his bags and a day later dropped them on his best friend's doorstep. Now here he was, in a small but cosy office, ready to start teaching as soon as classes would begin the following week.
He took another biscuit from the plate and stuffed it in his mouth before he bent down to pick up a pile of books and carried them into the adjoined, unused office that he had almost turned into his library in a matter of two hours, but next to the sofa and desk in his office there simply wasn't enough space for all of his books – and his best friend would kill him if he blocked her kitchen with them.
The university building was still very quiet thanks to the lack of students and the Doctor was fairly certain that not all teachers and professors had settled in yet either, so he unpacked his favourite office device – and old record player – along with a nice selection of vinyls. After a few seconds of cracking sounds The Hollies started to play and he continued to unpack his books, only now in a much more relaxing atmosphere.
By the time the music ran out he was almost finished, so he decided to fetch one more cup of tea from the staff kitchen before he called it a day. The Doctor had only just settled behind his desk and taken a sip from his fresh mug when he suddenly became aware of voices on the corridor and they were drawing closer. Something about one of them seemed strangely familiar. Then the door to his library opened.
"Uh, I like this one. It's very bright."
The Doctor recognized it instantly and his heart seemed to skip a little beat as he carefully set his mug back down. That voice, that cute, northern accent.
"These books will have to go though," she said while the Doctor rose to his feet and carefully glimpsed around the corner through the open door that connected both offices. And sure enough, there she was. Clara Oswald. The Doctor could hardly believe his eyes.
"I'm not actually sure what these are doing here," Mr Armitage, the head of staff, told her, but Clara wasn't listening to him any longer as it seemed.
She had turned her head in his direction and the Doctor froze when she smiled broadly at him.
"Doctor," she said fondly and even though he tried not to get his hopes up, Clara seemed delighted to see him. She remembered him. It had been years and she still remembered him. His mouth suddenly felt dry and he had no idea what to reply.
Quick. Say something intelligent, he told himself. "Clara," the Doctor swallowed, "Y-y-ou. . . you still haven't grown."
Clara laughed in reply, that wonderful, heartfelt laugh that could turn his knees into pudding and right now she was laughing at his stupidity. Damn his silly mouth that had always made him look like a bit of an idiot in front of her. Some things, the Doctor thought, would probably never change.
"Oh, that's right," Mr Armitage suddenly said, interrupting his internal scolding, "You two know each other, of course."
"Yeah," Clara agreed, exchanging looks between him and the head of staff, "The Doctor taught a career oriented course from my old school and he was my professor when I came to study here. I took all of his classes."
Mr Armitage laughed. "He failed you that often, did he?"
"Not at all," she shook her head, smiling towards the Doctor. His heart was still beating too damn fast, but failed to actually deliver some blood to his brain. "I just enjoyed them a lot."
"Wonderful," Mr Armitage clapped his hands together, "Shall I show the rest of the building then?"
"Sure, just lead the way, I'll follow," she said and turned towards the Doctor once more, still smiling, "I'll see you around, I guess?"
The only thing the Doctor could do at this point was nod and watch Clara leave the room behind the head of staff, not wanting to risk another stupid thing to slip from his lips. He only dared to breathe again when their footsteps had vanished into the staff kitchen across the hall and the Doctor leaned back against the wall, just breathing.
Clara Oswald was back. And now she was a teacher, a colleague. His heart just wouldn't stop hammering in his chest.
The Doctor remembered the first time they had met only too well. It had been some stupid thing some stupid school had thought of, giving their pupils a taste of university life for a week, giving them an opportunity to try out different subjects, listen to some lectures and he had been the idiot who had had to teach those pudding brains. Except that they hadn't all been pudding brains. Right on the first day the Doctor had intended to scare them off English for good, only to be challenged by a bright, young student. Her comebacks had baffled him into a five minute long silence and he hadn't been able to scare her away. Quite the opposite. Clara Oswald had come back to his lectures on all other four days as well, fighting him over Jane Austen and Shakespeare and the Doctor had enjoyed it. It had been a nice relief from the timid masses and everyday lectures.
Then, two years later, Clara had once more stepped into his class, a woman now and determined to become a teacher. He could still recall many of the conversations and debates they had had over the course of her undergrad education, especially the one they had had on the day the Doctor had realized that he had a crush on her. He had been her professor and he had had a crush on his student. The Doctor had endured it for a while, he had tried to ignore his feelings for her and his jealousy towards her silly boyfriend in the bow tie, but when they had threatened to get out of hand and get in his way of being a good teacher, the Doctor had packed his bags and headed towards a university far, far away from Clara Oswald.
Now she was back and the Doctor found that not many things had changed for him since he had last seen her. He was just as madly in love as he had been years ago.
The Doctor couldn't say how much time had passed but after a while he could hear heeled footsteps and that was what finally propelled him to move back to his desk and pretend to be busy. A few seconds later Clara stuck her head through the door. She was smiling and carrying a cup of tea and somehow she had gotten rid of Mr Armitage in the meantime.
"So, you're teaching here again, huh?" she asked, only reluctantly stepping inside his office.
The Doctor cleared his throat. "Uhm, yeah," he replied, "Starting next week."
With a sigh Clara sank down on the sofa in his office and looked around while the Doctor searched his brain for something to say that wasn't potentially insulting or would make him look like an idiot.
"Sorry about the books in your office. I thought it was unused. I'll get rid of them," he said and quickly reached for his own mug to have a sip just for the sake of having something to do.
"Take your time. I don't have that much stuff yet. They're not in the way."
Even though he wasn't looking in her direction the Doctor was painfully aware that Clara was staring at him and it unsettled him massively. Somehow he would have to find a way to get used to it. They had to work next to each other now after all. Unless. . .
Unless he decided to act on his feelings and asked her out like a normal man would. Clara wasn't his student any longer, she was a colleague. Going out with a colleague wasn't such a bad thing.
"You just left," Clara said after a moment and finally the Doctor looked at her, only to realize that he had no idea what she was talking about.
"It was the middle of the semester. One day you were there and the next you were gone," she continued and the tone in her voice told him that she still felt confusion over that.
"I got a better offer," he replied blatantly. It was a lie, but he could hardly tell her the truth.
"In the middle of the year?" Clara raised an eyebrow at him.
"What about you?" the Doctor asked, putting on a smile and trying to divert the subject. Away from him. Away from that confusing time when he had battled his unrequited love for his student. He had gone half insane because of her. "Teaching here now?"
Clara nodded, smiling. "I worked as a school teacher the past few years and just recently got my PhD. I thought I'd move on, try the next step up."
"So you're Dr Oswald now?" he smirked, "Impressive. I always thought you'd go down that path."
"What can I say? I had a good teacher," Clara beamed at him, but suddenly her face grew stern, "Before he ran off."
"Sorry," he mumbled and lowered his gaze again.
He heard Clara rise from the sofa, but he was too afraid to look at her. "Well, time to get settled in before classes start on Monday. I see you've already spread your usual chaos."
The Doctor's head instantly shot up, ready to protest. "Hey!"
Clara giggled. "You're not my professor anymore. I can speak to you like that now."
The Doctor growled in reply, remembering that she had always spoken to him like that and it was silly to believe she would change, but when she attempted to leave the room he suddenly wasn't so eager to let her go any longer. He should do it. He should ask her out.
So he rose from his chair and cleared his throat again, his heart suddenly beating even faster at the prospect of what he was about to do. "Would you. . . uhm. . . maybe," he broke off, groaning. His hands were trembling. He couldn't do it. He was such a coward when it came to Clara. A coward and an idiot.
"Would I what?" she asked, that bright smile still stuck on her face. Clara liked him, the Doctor knew that much. He just had to ask her out to test just how much she liked him.
"Would you like to go out tonight?" he blurted out, "For a meal. I mean, dinner, sort of. With me."
Suddenly the smile faded from Clara's face and was replaced by something else, something he didn't quite understand, before her eyes grew wider. "Oh, I'm sorry," she uttered instantly, "I'm going out with my fiancé tonight to celebrate the new job. But hey, we're colleagues now, we can go out any time, right?"
The Doctor swallowed hard, his heart sinking into his boots. Fiancé. Of course she was engaged. Why should he have any kind of luck for once?
"Yes," he said quickly and turned towards his desk, rearranging his papers just to look busy, just to not let her think he was disappointed in any way, "Yes, of course. There's no hurry. Have fun with the fiancé. Is it still the bow tie guy?"
"No," Clara replied, "It's a teacher from my old school. His name's Danny."
"Well, have fun with Danny," the Doctor told her brusquely and picked up the keys. He couldn't look at her, not after this. "I'm leaving now. See you next week."
Before Clara even had a chance to reply the Doctor rushed out of the door, away from her. He couldn't possibly stay in her presence for another second and he had no idea how he was going to survive this year when he was still so much in love with that impossible girl.