River was terribly confused. She had just died. And she was pretty confident that Hell did not look like the inside of her husband's TARDIS. Hell would also not be inhabited by Clara, who was sitting at the bottom of the stairs.
"Hello, River," she chirruped happily. "He said he had to do something before you woke up. He just kind of failed on the before part. Also, for the record, I told him he should have left you in your bed instead of moving you to the middle of the floor. His response was something about how much more dramatic seeing the console room would be instead." She plopped her chin into her hands, elbows on knees. "It's very nice to see you again."
"It's very nice to see you as well," River said carefully. She tried not to let her confusion show as she waved her hands before her face. The Doctor had once told her that if you have no idea how you ended up where you were then check for pixelation blur. Rule #211. She could detect none, so that obviously meant she wasn't in a computer simulation. Alright, rule #179. She rubbed the floor with one finger and then licked it. Nothing seemed off.
"He told me you would start doing that... And let me assure you, everything is 100% real. You haven't died. You're really here on the TARDIS with us. And the Doctor whose life you just saved, he doesn't know that you're really alive. Honestly, he carries on for hundreds of years before realizing that the answer was staring him in the face ever since your mother was stolen when she was pregnant. Sad story. And he let his past self save your Ganger's life as well. Despite his adorable absentmindedness, he really is clever."
"Wait. Ganger? You mean that I wasn't really at the Library?"
Clara shook her head. "After you two went to the Singing Towers of Darillium, he made a Flesh copy of you that you controlled safely from your bed here with a mind link. You were asleep, so you never even knew."
"Where is he; I'm going to STRANGLE him!"
"No you're not!" His voice was sing-song-y, and it was so clear that he was about as smug as a child who had just corrected his teacher. He grinned as he started descending the stairs. "Hello, sweetie!"
Unsure of how to express what she was feeling, she grabbed him by the lapels of his stupid tweed jacket and kissed him fiercely. Then she punched him in the gut, hard as she could. "You bastard."
"Ow, good Lord, woman! What's wrong with you, I just saved your bloody life! Certainly doesn't call for getting socked." He wheezed a bit as he made his way over to sit by Clara, who was trying so hard not to laugh she was crying. "Ugh, that hurts."
"You couldn't just let me die, could you?! I was completely at terms with it, knowing that I was dying for a future you were about to have! But NO! You have to swoop in and save my life through some absurdly elaborate plot that barely even makes any damn sense!"
A choked giggle escaped Clara's mouth, and she covered it with both hands.
"Of course I couldn't let you die! I've had three hundred years to think about another way to save you besides the screwdriver, and so I came up with one. I saved the Ganger's consciousness in CAL with the screwdriver anyway. Didn't kill her. So I saved you twice! Why is getting punched the way I get thanked?"
"IT'S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE DECEPTION, IDIOT!" River shouted furiously.
"If I had let you know, you might've told past me, and that would change absolutely everything! Plus knowing the body you're controlling is a "fake" gives you a false sense of immortality, which I couldn't have you parading around with! I needed you to feel like you were absolutely going to die right there, no regenerations, no other way, that way I believed it too. It all went perfectly as I remembered, right down to being nearly blinded when the Ganger got vaporized. Do you want your diary?"
"Yes," she said grumpily, crossing her arms as she sat on the other side of Clara.
"How about the screwdriver?"
"No, I might throw it at the back of your head when I get the chance."
He chuckled and then groaned, holding his stomach. "You're too strong for my own good. I'm going to need the Vortex Manipulator."
She ripped it off her wrist and handed it to him without looking at him. Clara giggled again.
There was a few seconds of beeping, then a zap! that frizzed up the right side of Clara's hair. River struck the railing beside her angrily and Clara attempted to wipe away the tears that were still streaming down her face. "He's going to pay for this, isn't he?" she giggled.
"Oh, yes. Very much so. It might even make him regenerate."
That made Clara burst into full-blown side-splitting laughter and she started crying even harder, bent over double and fighting to breathe. River just eyed her warily.
"WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS IN MY SHOES?!"
Clara and River snorted in their efforts to stem shrieks of laughter and quickly threw the empty tapioca containers in the garbage, then ran for their lives through the halls of the TARDIS.
A/N: In all honesty I was really quite proud of myself for being able to make this sweet and funny instead of depressing as hell. ._.' Did I succeed? Was Clara believable? It's not like I have much to work with at this point, seeing as we're all still waiting for The Bells of St. John. AAGHH. CLARA MY DEAR Y U SO DIFFICULT TO WRITE.