A/N: *Glances at last update* Hmmm...it's been a while! Like, a long while. ...Whoops. *sheepish grin* Well! As I'm sure many of you know, Warehouse 13 recently ended. For good. I really liked how they wrapped it up, and so...I dunno, I decided to write this thing. It's not much, but...yeah. Anyways, thanks for...sticking with this? (Holy heck, like...two years since I've touched this thing. So sorry.)
Disclaimer: I still don't own Doctor Who or Warehouse 13.
Timeline: Spoilers for series finale of WH13, as well as most recent season of Doctor Who.
"Don't say it like that."
"Say it like what?"
"Like…you know, like that."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Oh, yes you do."
"I assure you, I haven't the foggiest."
"…You just wanted to say 'foggiest,' didn't you?"
Clara feels so at ease, when they banter back and forth like this. It's almost like nothing has changed…like everything they've been through recently is nothing more than a bad dream. Far off, unpleasant memories that are too blurry to properly recall, made indistinct with time. (She almost laughs. Time. So relative, when traveling with the Doctor.) But then the conversation will fade, the TARDIS will grow quiet.
And she'll be forced to remember. Forced to face the fact that the Doctor wears a new visage…and even though…even though he has assured her, over and over, that he's the same man, not all that different from a new shirt, a new pair of shoes, she's simply…not so sure.
"It's the wrinkles, isn't it," he teases her. And she wants to tell him, yes, it's the wrinkles, and the new coat, and the new eyes, nose, mouth, hair…but instead she throws her head back and laughs. My, you are a vain, vain man, aren't you?
Today, though…today they have a destination, they have someplace to go. South Dakota. There are so many places Clara wants to go, wants to see.
South Dakota is not one of them.
"It's just so…so…South Dakota." She laments, still trying to badger an answer out of the Doctor.
"An apt description."
"Come on, won't you at least give me a hint?"
"Spoilers." He responds.
"What does that even mean?"
There's a flash of something, that jumps across his features briefly. Regret? Pain? It's too quick to tell. She's about to question him, demand an explanation, but then he's grinning again, gesturing broadly with his hand.
"Oh, just you wait, we're going to stop off at Mt. Rushmore and—well, actually, maybe we won't stop off at Mt. Rushmore…there's a clan of Iradian Monforms living in Lincoln's left eye that aren't terribly fond of me at the moment—"
He trails off, with stories of small, green men that dwell within some of the world's most beloved monuments, and Clara does her best to listen and smile when she's supposed to, but she finds her mind wandering.
Where have you gone, clever boy?
X X X
She doesn't believe him at first.
"Very funny," she tells him, even though it really isn't and she's going to have words with the junior agents, because clearly someone has hacked the archives and is playing an elaborate prank.
"It's me," the stranger repeats.
She's not entirely convinced, but the longer he stands there, the more familiar he becomes. The way his shoulders sag to the left, slightly. The way he holds his hands, leans close when he wants to talk to you. (He would stoop a little, because of his height. He does so now, even though he's a bit shorter—there's no longer a need.)
"...Doctor," she says at last, warmly.
"Claudia." He says, wrapping her in a hug.
"Um..Clara?" Clara speaks up, interrupting an otherwise touching scene. The Doctor blinks. Whirls.
"Oh. Oh! Oh. Yes. Clara. Sorry," he stands back and gestures grandly to Clara, introduces her.
"Nice to meet you," the woman—Claudia—says.
"And…nice to meet you…" Even though Clara is so very, very confused. "…Who are you?"
"I'm afraid that's classified," she says.
"I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you."
"She would. A messy affair. Best to avoid it." The Doctor agrees.
Clara can't tell if they're joking.
They don't stay long. The Doctor asks a few questions. They talk about a man named Artie, another named Pete.
"How long has it been?"
"Does it get any easier?"
They leave, and there are more hugs (the Doctor insists that Clara join in, so she does, but then all three agree that it was very awkward and they'll never speak of it again) and Clara doesn't start in on the questions until the TARDIS is up and away.
"Spill," she commands.
"An old friend," The Doctor hedges.
"A young friend, if you ask me."
"That's not what I—"
"How'd you meet her? Who is she? What does she do? Why were we in the middle of South Dakota? Does she always dress like that?"
"Interdimensional problem. Like I said, old friend. She works. For the scenery. Possibly, I'm not sure. They might have casual Fridays." He replies. And it's positively maddening, how he can answer her, but not really answer her at all.
"I'm being serious!" She protests. "Who was that girl?"
He looks at her, and there it is again. Pain, regret, something in between?
"Not a girl, really. She's…much older than she looks," he says quietly. Clara raises an eyebrow, but then she thinks she might understand.
"Is she…is she like you, then?"
"…Yes and no." For a moment, Clara thinks she's going to get another non-answer answer. But the Doctor goes on. "She didn't start out like me, you see….Well, no. I suppose she did. A little. And now…now I suppose she's a lot like me." He scrubs the side of his face, eyes sad. "The last of our kind."
She steps forward, places a hand on his arm.
"Well then," she says quietly. "At least…at least you can be the last of your kind together, yeh?"
He seems to think about her suggestion. At last, he smiles.
"I suppose so."
And Clara grins, because there he is. She's missed him.
My clever boy.
Hopefully that wasn't too terrible...my apologies if it was rough. I've never written Clara, and Twelve has quite a bit of Eleven in him, apparently. XD Well, as I said, thanks for sticking with this, and sorry for the two-year absence!