A/N: Hello! Sorry I haven't posted for a while. I've had so much on at school recently. Anyhow, here is a chapter, which I'm quite proud of so I hope you enjoy!
Reviews would be top notch :D
In which its Artie's birthday and the Doctor is the magician: and Clara is his glamorous asisstant
"Hello?" Clara hears the Doctor's voice, questioningly, on the other end of the phone. It's full of enthusiasm, as usual. She couldn't expect anything less.
"Hi, Doctor," Clara replies, "It's me."
"Well I know it's you, Clara. Obviously," there's some background noise. A twist of a lever, a push of a button. The only man she's ever known who can legitimately multi-task (well, she hopes he can- she has a feeling it could be a bluff). "What can I do for you? Are you in trouble? Are you still up for today? I'll be around in a minute, or now, if you want?"
"Woah, hold up on the 20Q!" she laughs, as she flicks a glance in the mirror at her reflection. Not too bad today, Clara. "No I'm fine. Great. It's just…" she hates to put a dampener on his eagerness, but when reality calls time and space has to wait… "Can we go out next week instead?"
"Oh." It's like she can hear him drop, like her words are a bucket of water that's just soaked his enthusiasm. Guilt knots inside of her even though she really hasn't got anything to be guilty for, as such. "That's fine. Next Wednesday. Okay. I'll just… Is it me? Did I do something…"
She has to smother her laughter. He's insecure? It's kind of endearing really that she thinks it's his fault that she may have other offers on a Wednesday. "No! It's nothing personal, no. George –well, Mr Maitland- is on a course or something and I've been asked to manage Artie's birthday party because he can't make it."
"It's Artie's birthday?"
"Yeah," Clara scrunches up her nose, "Sure I've mentioned it. Anyway, George was going to do the party but as he's away on this work course I said I'd step in. Couldn't let Artie down. You can pick me up tomorrow instead, if you like. Just not today."
There's a pause. For a moment, she thinks he's hung up, but she hears him inhale a breath. "Can I come?"
Her brow furrows. "You want to come? Seriously?"
"Yeah!" she can hear him grin. "I love parties! Especially kids parties. You know, at adult parties, you don't have half as much fun as you do at a kid's party. I mean, what happens to the cake shaped like a pirate ship and those really cool bag things you get at the end and the bouncy castle?" a beat. "Is there a bouncy castle?"
She scoffs. "Doctor, Artie is turning eleven. You don't have bouncy castles when you're eleven. He wanted a magician so I phoned one up from the yellow pages."
"A magician… Well, that's almost as good as a bouncy castle, I suppose. As long as it isn't an alien. Then that wouldn't be good."
Clara stops fiddling with the lipstick cap on her dressing table. In her reflection, she can see her eyes widening. "Wait… That won't happen, will it? The magician? No..."
"I shouldn't think so. But maybe I should come along, just in case. An extra pair of hands in the unlikely circumstance that the magician may be a Slitheen in disguise."
She rolls her eyes with a sigh. For some reason, she could see this coming- the Doctor edging himself an invite backed up with reason, of course. She was probably going to end up inviting him anyway. Artie worshipped the Doctor in every way possible and described him countless times and his adventures to his friends at school. "Fine. You can come. Don't fancy being the only one in control of twenty or so eleven year olds anyway."
"Great! Haven't been to a party in ages. We'll have to sneak into one sometime." she hears him pull back a lever, a whirring noise making its way down the receiver. "I'll be around in two shakes of a lambs tail. However long that is. Can't be very long, if it's a lamb, can it? Lamb's have very small… I'll just go and get Artie a present."
She chuckles at his ramblings. "Fine. Good. But don't get him anything like, spacey-wacey. A normal present. I don't want him going and blowing up his school or turning Angie blue or something."
"Yeah," she frowns, a flicker of a grin threatening to pull up her upper lip, "Something right for a 21st century boy."
"Fine. Not spacey-wacey," he laughs and she smiles because, that laugh, how can you not? "See you in a bit, Clara."
"Alright then. Bye."
She hangs up, pressing down the red button on the handset before pressing it back into its cradle. It's then that it really dawns on her- she's asked the biggest kid in the universe to help her manage a children's party? How is that going to go well at all…
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARTIE!"
The Doctor announces this at the front door with a beam on his face, almost blowing Artie away with his enthusiasm. In his grip is a big box, wrapped in metallic blue wrapping paper tied up with a bright red ribbon.
Artie's mouth is an 'o' of surprise. "Doctor! I didn't know you were coming to my special birthday party. I did ask Clara to invite you, but she said you'd probably be busy."
There's something quite endearing about Artie Maitland- the Doctor was more used to being thrown out of birthday parties, rather than being invited to them. He ruffles the youngster's hair. "Plans change! The moment Clara mentioned it was your birthday I knew I couldn't miss out on it. Couldn't turn down an invite to the best party of the year!"
Artie's mouth gradually turns into one of the biggest grins he's ever seen. Approval from his biggest role model? He couldn't have asked for a better birthday present, although the package in his grip looks appealing also… He doesn't want to be rude, but he gestures towards the parcel with his right hand. "If you don't mind me asking… Is that for me?"
"Of course it is!" the Doctor announces eagerly, pushing the big box into his grip so vigorously that Artie tilts backwards. "Between you and me, I was going to get you some fifty-eighth century practical joke kits, but Clara said something about not turning Angie blue so I got you something better instead."
Artie's eyes widen with excitement at the prospect of the package. "Cool! Thank you!"
The Doctor claps Artie on the shoulder. "You're welcome. Now, while you open that, can you tell me where Clara is?"
He's so distracted by the parcel that he doesn't even look up at the question. "She's in the kitchen."
He leaves Artie, who has just entered the front living room, to wander nearer the back of the house where the kitchen is. In the corner of his eye he can see a table laden with food- sausage rolls, little sandwiches, mini muffins. Then, of course, a spectacular looking chocolate cake with eleven candles; which is obviously bought from the supermarket as, knowing from some of Clara's culinary attempts, she couldn't possibly make a cake quite like that.
"Clara! I'm here-" he ends his sentence abruptly when he sees Clara in the kitchen- standing with her back against the table and her thumb nail between her teeth. She looks up at him, and her eyes look troubled. "What's wrong?"
"Magician just rang up. Guess what?" Clara raises her arms, slapping them down at her sides. "He's had to cancel. Some double-booking or other. How am I supposed to get another magician in…" she looks at her watch, "Half an hour?"
She rubs her face with her hand and for a moment, the Doctor's hearts break a little. All Clara wants is to put on a good party for Artie, what he wants, but of course sometimes plans don't work out. Unless…
"I could do it!" he exclaims, partly because he doesn't want to let Artie down, but partly because he wants to impress Clara… Which he's not going to say out loud, of course.
She looks incredibly sceptical, her right eyebrow raised and her mouth edging into smirk territory. "Seriously? You?"
He's offended that she thinks he's incapable. "Yes me! I'm an outstanding magician! Okay, haven't done a party before but…" he pats the pockets of his jacket, "I'm sure I could conjure something up. Conjure! Get it? I'm a conjuror, conjuring… Never mind."
There's a pause. Clara studies the man in front of her, then weighs out the other options- and there doesn't look to be any other options. She can't let Artie down, not when he's been through so much over the past year; only the second year without his mother organising the party. She sees his massive smile and his willingness and the knowledge she won't be able to get anyone professional at this short a notice.
"Okay then. Fine," she points her finger at him, "But if you do anything, like attempt to saw one of Artie's friends in half, I'll have to interfere."
"You won't need to interfere," he says ominously, "As you are going to be my glamorous assistant."
And he gives her a grin and turns on his heels before she can even counter. Magic tricks? The Doctor? Her? That didn't sound the safest of plans.
"Ooh, you're going to be his glamorous assistant!" a voice says from behind her, making Clara start. It's Angie- sitting at the kitchen table, eavesdropping, without either the Doctor or Clara even noticing she was there to begin with. "We all know what that means."
Clara rolls her eyes at her charge. Angie could be insufferable at times; making fun of Artie, being moody, being downright annoying- but those traits seemed to come hand-in-hand with being a teenager. "Enlighten me. What does it mean?"
Angie looks at Clara with an isn't-it-obvious look on her face. She stands up from the table, tidying away her papers as she does so. "Don't tell me you can't see it, Clara. It's dazzlingly obvious."
Now, she's confused. Her eyebrows furrow into an arch, Angie sighing- she knows that expression. "See what?"
"You're both so stupid. And blind." Angie mutters, "You're in love with each other and you can't even see it."
"Yeah, but…" Clara suddenly pauses, not sure if she's heard correctly. Angie? What? "Sorry?"
"Either you let him down gently," Angie suggests, walking towards the door with arms full of books and paper. She leans in the doorway, with the posture and aura of a girl who is a lot older than fourteen. "Or you just tell him you want him to take you out to some swanky party thirty million light years away and kiss you senseless in the back room."
Clara lurches, her mouth opening and closing like a goldfish. Angie, not that its unusual, has rendered her semi-speechless. "Angie!"
Angie shrugs like its point-blank. "But if you keep on skipping round like idiots and not get down to the gushy stuff, I may have to interfere. Not that I really care, obviously… But still. It's more annoying than anything else."
Clara tries to come out with some unbelievably sassy remark to counteract Angie's statement, but for some reason her minds gone blank and she can't seem to eject a reply- which only, in Angie's mind, confirms her assumption. She's digging herself into an even deeper oblivion.
"Laters!" Angie laughs, her mess of black hair tossing behind her as she exits the kitchen and traipses up the stairs.
Clara pauses for a moment. The Doctor? Her? No… Right?
What is it with eleven year olds and their admiration for the Doctor? All Clara can see is a daft man with a bow tie and a stupid haircut and an idiotic (yet infectious) grin on his face. There's nothing particularly outstanding or special about him, not here- if they'd seen him on one of their adventures, battling it out, tears streaming down his face; maybe they'd see him as a hero. But here? All he's doing is pulling an outrageous amount of handkerchiefs from his pockets and occasionally plucking a pound coin from behind one of Artie's friend's ear. Okay, producing a fish bowl from supposedly nowhere and blowing a fish out from his palm was pretty impressive, but the kids are absolutely enthralled by him and his outrageous stories; their mouths and eyes wide as he tells them of 'planets' and 'spaceships'. She's not sure whether they believe him or not- maybe, they'd make out they thought it was all fake, but something inside of them believed every single word.
"Now for my next trick, I'm going to have to call in my glamorous assistant," the Doctor says, leaning in so he's more on-par with the children sat on the carpet in front of him, Artie at the head of the group. "She's called Clara and I can tell you now, she is indeed very glamorous. Clara!"
The heads turn to face the door, and there's a chorus of wows as Clara enters, albeit a little sheepishly, clothed in a short collared red dress with a belt round the middle; her hair tangled in a messy knot round the back with three scarlet feathers tied into it.
"Hello!" she waves gingerly, stepping over to get to the front where the Doctor takes her hand. He just sort of looks at her for a few seconds, not sure how to form the words.
So he spins her around as she giggles. "Isn't she glamorous?"
Artie nodded vigorously, his friends not far behind. The boys are captivated by what they'd only seen as Artie's nanny, and the girls grinning and whispering about how pretty her hair or her dress or even her face was. The Doctor would just let his eyes observe her for a moment longer, but he was interrupted by a snigger-come-cough emitted from Angie in the doorway. She refused to totally get involved with the party ("Magicians are stupid. Magic isn't even real!") but she was always there, observing.
The Doctor coughs, reaching deep into his pockets. He brings out a pair of handcuffs, and a ripple of 'oohs' cascades across the living room. This instantly makes Clara feel the tiniest bit weary. "For my last trick, I'm going to use these cuffs to attach myself to Clara here. And with the use of only my magic wand and no key whatsoever, I'm going to magic us apart."
He opens the cuff and slots his wrist inside it, popping it closed. Clara sceptically hands him her own wrist, whispering "You do know what you're doing, don't you?"
"Of course!" he whispers back, moving closer to her ear, "I'll use the sonic to undo them. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. They'll be none the wiser and pretty amazed, if I do say so myself."
"Ooh," Clara mocks, "You're quite the sneaky one."
"Aren't I just?" he grins.
The cuffs clink round Clara's wrist so that they're bonded. He clearly shows this to the children, encouraging Artie to come forwards and test it.
Artie eagerly rises from his position on the floor and tugs onto the metal. "Definitely locked. No doubt about it."
The Doctor nods in confirmation as Artie sits back down. "What about you, Angie? Why don't you have a check?"
Strangely enough, Angie heads down to the front without complain- although there's something a bit suspicious about her smirk. She tugs onto the handcuffs, checking they're tight, and the Doctor's about to go on with the trick but Angie dives into his pocket first and grabs the sonic screwdriver before he can get it.
The Doctor and Clara glare at Angie. "Angie. Give that back."
"No." Angie says simply, folding her arms. "Not until you ask her out on a proper date."
"A date?!" Clara and the Doctor squeal in unison, just looking at each other. "What?"
"Oh for God's sake!" Angie rolls her eyes, "You fancy the pants off her! And Clara, don't even try to deny that you find him brilliant and handsome and funny. So what's it to be?"
Artie stands up behind her. "What's happening, Angie? Why aren't you doing the trick?"
"Just uh… Some slight technical difficulties," the Doctor jabbers. "Should be right as rain in a minute."
"Food in the kitchen!" Clara grins, and as she suspects, the kids are no longer interested in the failing magic trick but rather the large selection of cakes in the kitchen.
When they're gone, Clara turns back and hisses at Angie. "You're spoiling your brother's party!"
"He'll get over it," Angie says nonchalantly. "Now, I'll be keeping your 'magic wand' until you've made a decision. Until then, looks like you're chained together."
"You didn't actually have to take me out," Clara says, "You could've just said yes to shut Angie up and gone back to the TARDIS."
They're sat in one of Chiswick's more swankier restaurants, the Doctor in a suit and Clara in an even more glamorous dress. Her hair, its long and flowing down her back in its natural loose waves, a few plaits effortlessly swept through it. Eyeliner flicks at the corner of her eyelids and a pale pink lipstick coats her lips. Despite her saying that this outing was not compulsory, she's still made an effort (not that she needs to.)
The Doctor leans back in his chair and presses his fingers together on his chest. "Maybe I wanted to take you out."
Her eyes flicker up from the menu she's reading. A smirk tugs at her lips. "Really?"
"Yeah. Maybe I do fancy you a bit," he shrugs nonchalantly.
"Fancy me?" the smirk turns slightly confused and her eyebrow raises, "Really?"
"What's so surprising about that?" As really, he doesn't know why she's that shocked. She's beautiful and she's hilarious and she's perfect. Maybe all it took was a teenage girl and a pair of handcuffs and a date to admit it- although, he wouldn't say that out loud, as it sounds slightly inappropriate out of context…
"It's just…" Clara leans forward, "You weren't forced to say this by Angie, were you? She's not holding the TARDIS as ransom or something?"
"No! No way is she getting her hands on the TARDIS," he mutters disgustedly. Never get on the wrong side of Angie Maitland. "You're brilliant, Clara. You always have been and always will and I want us to be brilliant. Together."
She scoffs at the cheesiness of it, but that's just to cover-up how hard her heart is beating within her chest and disguise how much that means to her. She brushes a strand of hair behind her ear, her cheeks blushing a delicate shade of pink. "Well, I guess if this honesty hour, I do fancy you a bit too. You're funny. I like that. You're clever. I like that too. And you're… Well, you're my everything."
The smile on his face freezes.
He's meant that to so many people. They made their lives revolve around him, orbiting him and obeying him like he's some sort of God- but never Clara. There had always been a mutual respect between the two of them, not letting loose how much they really meant to each other because that gets you hurt. She never wanted to give anything away and she did her best not to look impressed while he did his best to make her look impressed and failed almost every time.
But, it doesn't matter. Because she's his everything too.
"You know what," Clara says as she throws down the menu, "I don't quite fancy anything on offer here."
His bed is usually cold and isolated: never used as he rarely slept. But now its warm and welcoming, Clara's limbs intertwined with his and the duvet rough and at the edge of the mattress.
"You are," he says in between kisses down her neck, her skin warm and soft beneath his lips, "Beautiful."
She grins among the ecstasy. "I know."