A/N: From a prompt on tumblr! Hope you enjoy, would love to get up to 300 reviews on this chapter (wow)!
In which not a particulary nice boyfriend from Clara's past shows up for a visit.
It's a Wednesday, and like every other Wednesday for a considerable number of weeks now Clara Oswald has welcomed the Doctor into the Maitland's home in order to whisk her away on another of their adventures. They're in her bedroom, just for the moment- Clara aimlessly trying to pack the odd thing for wherever they're going next while the Doctor babbles off a hundred different places at about a hundred miles an hour. She hardly picks up a word.
"The Seven Suns of Pahalamoosh!" he says ecstatically, leaping back onto Clara's bed with the sheer excitement of it. There's an unnerving crack as the bed groans with his sudden weight- he grins awkwardly yet still persists on bouncing in the centre of the mattress.
Clara rolls her eyes, propping her hands on her hips. "Pahala-what now?
"Pahalamoosh!" he repeats, his grin just as bright and his eyes dancing just as much as he said it the first time. "Seven golden orbs just hang in the sky for thirty-six hours straight, before all setting simultaneously and leaving the sky a deep, mossy green. It's really unlike anything, Clara. You'll love it."
Clara reaches under her bed for her overnight bag. The Doctor looks down at her as she does this. "Hmm… Seven suns? I don't know. I burn really easily."
The Doctor frowns, feeling the pockets of his jackets and padding them out as if he was looking for something. His hand wriggles inside his right pocket, and a smile flashes across his face as he drops a small blue bottle into Clara's bag. "Factor 1000 sun-cream. Recommended for fair skin for six to eight suns. Never leave without it."
Clara nods, pulling a couple of dresses and a pair of shorts out from her wardrobe. "Pahalamoosh it is, then."
The Doctor beams- another brilliant adventure in store for him and his brilliant Clara. He's about to say something, about the local cultures of Pahalamoosh, but there's a ringing noise from downstairs which he knows is the Maitland's doorbell.
"Expecting visitors?" he ponders curiously. Mr Maitland was out to pick up Artie from one of his friend's houses, leaving Angie inside with them until he returned- but he had a key. Could just be a canvasser, he supposes. Or the milkman.
Clara's brow furrows as she drops a pair of flip-flops into the case. "No, I don't think so…"
She pads out into the hallway and through the door the Doctor can see her leaning over the bannister. "Angie, can you get that? It's probably one of your mates."
Angie's characteristic annoyed sigh carries up the stairs. "Fine, Clara. It's not your job to answer the door or anything."
"Actually, Angie, it… Never mind." Clara shakes her head as she wanders back into the bedroom. She throws a few more belongings into the suitcase with a bit more vigour before zipping it back up. "We just need to wait for Artie to come back and then we can go."
The Doctor claps his hands together. "Great! Anytime you…"
Clara drops the bag, a little bit more annoyed now. "What is it, Angie?"
"Your boyfriend's here!"
"My what?" Clara yells back, but there's no reply from downstairs.
The Doctor instantly rises up from the mattress so that he's in a more upright position. He tries his best not to look concerned or interested; because the fact that Clara might have an intimate other does not matter to him at all. She spends a whole week without him- of course there had to be someone else. She's young and she's pretty. He can't be… "I didn't know you had a boyfriend."
Clara's nose crinkles as she rises from her position on the floor. "Neither did I. Wait here- I'll just go and see who it is. It's probably just Angie being an idiot."
Of course, he's far too curious to just let her go and not witness the conversation; so he goes and sneakily stands in the hallway and overview the conversation. Just, y'know, for extra security. This guy could be an alien and he might need to step in and save her at last minute. He wasn't at all interested about what he looked like or anything. Nope, he was just keeping an eye out for suspicious activity.
"Andy!" Clara says, but it's not exactly a voice filled with enthusiasm. It's the kind of voice that reminds of him when they first met, here- sort of not entirely thrilled about the presence at the other side of the door, but not quite ready to shut it off either. "What are you doing here?"
He hears a short laugh of the male kind. Andy? Who? "Amber told me you were still living here for the time being and I was in town so… I thought I'd pay you a visit. How many months has it been? Seven?"
"Eight," she leans in the doorway, "Eight months."
Was Andy an ex? The Doctor can feel his palms go a little sweaty. He and ex-boyfriends or boyfriends in general didn't seem to mix at all. For some reason they all took a dislike to him, even if the relationship was done and over. He tends to not get involved with them anymore- way too much effort and trouble. Yet, he can't seem to escape from them…
"Eight months? That long? Wow. Well… Are you busy? Do you want to go grab a coffee or something, catch up?"
Clara sighs and looks down at her feet. The Doctor can already tell that this is one relationship that hadn't ended well. "Is this really a good idea, Andy?"
There's a pause. "It's been eight months, Clara. Surely that's enough time to level the waters between us? We used to be such good friends. I miss us."
It's almost as if he can see Clara physically soften in front of his eyes. He's always seen Clara as someone with a witty, rock-hard exterior which doesn't break down for anything- but, Andy, he's making her crumble. His strong, beautiful Clara is weakening right in front of him, but for a boy. "We were good friends before you messed me around, eight months ago. I got over us months ago, Andy. Please, this isn't very convenient-"
She's about to shut the door, but a foot comes in between the latch. "Please, Clara. Ten minutes. I kind of just… Well, while I'm in town, I kind of just wanted to apologise to you. But, really, if you want me to go…"
She hesitates. She sighs, pulling open the door. "Fine. Ten minutes, but no more. I've got somewhere I need to be."
Now, this confuses the Doctor. Did Clara Oswald just cave into someone? Things must be dire.
"Fine! Ten minutes, that's great. Thanks."
The Doctor's head peers secretly over the top of the bannister, trying to get a peek of Andy as sneakily as possible without getting caught. A blonde boy, aged probably around Clara's age, walks into the hall not far behind Clara. He's substantially taller than her, which isn't that hard to achieve, as well as big blue eyes and sharp cheekbones. He's not sure what he was expecting of an ex of Clara's, to be honest. He never thought that she'd have a particular type.
He's handsome. Is he handsome? Well if he's handsome… He's not like the Doctor at all. All blonde and muscly with a polo-shirt. Is that the sort of guy Clara went for? All Armani aftershave and chinos?
Not that the Doctor was planning on being the sort of guy that Clara went after, of course. Nope, they were just friends. It was just… Interesting. No! Not interesting! You are not interested!
He slaps himself on the cheek. He doesn't even know what feelings are floating around inside of him, but they make him feel all restless and fidgety… He feels he has no choice but to follow them into the kitchen. For security reasons, of course.
Andy's sitting at the kitchen table, while Clara is filling up the kettle. The pair of them turn to face him as soon as he walks in, like he's just walked into them on the toilet or… You get the idea. He smiles awkwardly, giving Andy a little wave as he does so. "Hello! Not interrupting, am I?"
Andy looks the Doctor up and down with disdain. He can see the boy judging his exterior- the scruffy hairdo, the bowtie and jacket.
"Um, Doctor, this is Andy." Clara quickly introduces the two of them, Andy tipping his head. It's so snooty and rude, like he can't give the Doctor the time of day. What is Clara doing with a person like that? "Andy's a… Old friend. We met at school."
"Hello Andy!" the Doctor says politely, but Andy does not reciprocate.
"Clara is this… Guy your boyfriend?" Andy asks straightaway, as if it's the most important question that needs to be asked.
Clara replies with a 'no' at the same time the Doctor replies with 'yes!'
Clara shoots him a look and so does Andy.
"Well, what I mean is, I'm her friend. And I'm also a boy," the Doctor laughs the embarrassment off, leaning to fiddle with his bowtie. "Not strictly a boyfriend as such."
Andy raises his eyebrows haughtily. Oh, the Doctor doesn't hate many people, but this guy is definitely a little Dalek. "Right."
Clara laughs, shaking her head as she pops two teabags into the mugs. "We travel together. Go see places. We have a lot of fun."
Andy's face falls. "We were going to travel together, weren't we?"
"Yeah, well," Clara pours the boiling water into the mugs, "Plans change, don't they?"
Andy shrugs. "Maybe plans can change back again."
A hot flash judders down his spine. Andy is a complete and total idiot who after eight whole months from what it sounds like since they split, still considers the fact that Clara will still come back to him. She'd never do that, the Clara he knew. She was stubborn and set in her opinions. She didn't just change them.
To his surprise, Clara doesn't say anything. She couldn't possibly be thinking… Not that it mattered. She could go back to Andy if she wanted. It wasn't his duty to manage her personal relationships, yet a little part of him felt as if his hearts were aching just slightly.
Maybe… Maybe time and space just wasn't enough for the enigma that was Clara Oswald.
"Now, Doctor whatever your name was, can you leave us for a bit?" Andy projects a big false grin at him, "Thanks."
He looks over to Clara with reluctance in his eyes because he doesn't want to leave her on her own with Andy. It's not as if he feels like he's dangerous or anything, but he just doesn't want her to make any rash decisions. Clara's not Clara around Andy. Not the one he knows- possibly the one Andy knows, but it shouldn't be. He shouldn't make her close up like this.
Clara doesn't ask him to stay. She just gestures towards the door leaving Andy with a smug grin on his horrible little face which is becoming less and less handsome by the second. The Doctor frowns, turning his back and closing the door.
Why does he feel sort of cold inside? It was like Andy was controlling what Clara was thinking. A human manifest of something nasty? Nah, just a class A imbecile who Clara couldn't seem to see through. The hold he had over her- it was unnatural. The way she just fell for him even though they'd obviously broken up for a reason…
Don't get involved! Clara isn't yours and you aren't hers. Stop being so… Jealous!
He's not jealous, is he? No. He can't be. He doesn't think of Clara like that. Does he?
"Don't even bother being jealous of that jerk," comes a voice, snapping him out of his trance. It's Angie, sitting at the coffee table doing some sort of homework. He looks down at her, and she rolls her eyes. "He broke her heart."
The Doctor blinks. He steps forwards into the doorway, folding his arms. "He what?"
Angie sighs, dropping her pencil and turning to face him. "He broke her heart. Clara walked in on him and her best friend Amber-something-or-other doing the you-know-what at a party or whatever."
And he swears, he's never felt his hearts fall so hard. "He… Cheated on her?"
"Yep," Angie pops the 'p', "They were together for almost six years or something. Since they were teenagers. Clara was devastated, caught her crying a few times. Didn't make a big fuss of it. Andy meant loads to her- he was round here all the time. She still doesn't know how long Andy and Amber were at it behind her back. Only got over it a few months back."
The Doctor sits down. The news hits him like a slap in the face- who would forsake Clara for someone else? Why, when you had someone like her… Would you do that?
Angie hesitates, like she's said too much. "But the funny thing is… She's been so much happier recently. She was never this happy with Andy. He used to say stuff to her all the time that made her really upset but she still went back to him. Why do people do that? If someone was ever that mean to me, I'd just tell them to shut up."
The Doctor raises an eyebrow. "Seems logical, doesn't it? But sometimes some people aren't so easy to say no to."
Angie agrees, although she doesn't admit it. She picks up her pencil again in order to avoid eye contact. "Don't let her go back to him, Doctor. She's way too good for him. I don't want her to be sad again. And please don't tell her I told you that."
The Doctor chuckles, despite the situation. "But, Angie, how do I tell her? She seems so, I don't know, enthralled by him…"
"Tell her that you love her." Angie states simply. "If it comes from you, she'll believe it."
"But! But I, no, I can't…"
"Don't even try and deny it. It's blatantly obvious that you fancy the pants off each other and all that's missing is some face-pressing and some of that gooey, gushy lovey stuff in between. So go in and say it, idiot. Andy never would."
That's enough for him to leap out the chair and burst into the kitchen. Not much has changed apart from the fact that Andy has leant ever so slightly closer in…
"Clara!" he announces, grinning, "I have something to say!"
Andy rolls his eyes, cursing at the impromptu entrance. Clara sighs. "Doctor, we're kind of busy…"
"I love you!" he blurts out.
Clara's eyes widen and Andy almost falls of his chair, saying "You what?" in unison.
He runs forwards to face Clara, pushing Andy out the way as he goes (just for a bit of fun.) "I love you, Clara!"
Clara laughs nervously. "Sorry?"
"Yeah, pal, what do you think you're doing?" Andy's voice comes from behind.
"And the thing is… I think I've always loved you. From the day we met I've just loved everything about you. I appreciate every single thing about you and I always will, unlike our mate Andy here."
"Are you going to let this idiot talk about me like that?" Andy practically roars at Clara, making her shrink back. "What are you even doing with him?"
"Don't you dare shout at her like that!" the Doctor protests, "You don't love her, Andy. You enjoy hurting her. Your relationship is over and you're just looking for an easy target to rekindle with. Well, guess what? It's not working anymore, mate. You can't take over her anymore with the occasional flattery. Because Clara Oswald has a one-up over you now from when you broke up- me. Now, I kindly suggest you leave, before I have to formally escort you off the premises. Do you understand?"
There's a harsh, tense atmosphere as Andy's lip trembles with anger. He swoops off his chair. "Yeah, well, mate- she's yours. I can have any girl I want now, I gather you probably can't. So you take Clara Oswald, I don't even care."
And with that, Andy storms out. They never see him again.
Clara's trembling ever so slightly, and all she can seem to bring herself to do is wrap her arms tight round the Doctor's neck and possibly never let go.
And she leans on the verge of her tiptoes and plants a precious, gentle kiss on his lips. "I love you too."