A/N: This is a tad bit angsty, but quite cute too. I hope you enjoy! Thank you SO MUCH for the amount of love you guys have given this little collection. There is one more on its way, then I'll be doing prompts which some of you have sent me:)
Reviews are my favourite.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
In which Clara has a nightmare, and the Doctor promises never to let her go again.
Sometimes she has nightmares.
Most of the time she doesn't like to admit it; a sign of weakness, perhaps. Clara Oswald is the kind if girl that keeps things that are hurting her to herself, however hard he tries to coax it out of her. She's stubborn, unbreakable even- and she doesn't want to appear anything less. She thinks if she shows any vulnerability the Doctor will think less of her (which of course he won't).
But he can always tell when something is troubling her, no matter how hard she tries to hide it. The more she denies it, the more he believes something is wrong. The more she pushes him away from her upsetting dreams the more he wants to come closer. It continues in this whole repelling attitude for some time- him pulling, tugging on her conscience yet the more he tugs the tighter she becomes. It distresses him just as much as it distresses her; it hurts that she won't talk. It hurts she won't confide in him. Because he- he would tell absolutely everything to her, and she knows it. It's one of those things that neither of them needs to say out loud but they know it's true.
In the mornings, after a particular bad night that she won't let him interfere in, she just sits on the steps round the TARDIS control room and shakes. She tries to hide it, but every tiny little shift and convulsion in her delicate little body he notices like it's the most obvious thing in the world. He wants to hold her and comfort her and tell her it will all be okay but she won't let him. He's not used to this, somebody locking him out. Amy would always tell him everything, no doubt about it, even before Rory, her own husband.
"Are you okay?" he'll ask, even though it's blatantly obvious by the way she's savaging her thumb nail with her teeth that she most definitely isn't.
Normally she'll take several moments to reply before ending with a resolute 'yes' which means, without a doubt, no. But he can't say anything else because she just won't. So he leaves her, shaking, which is definitely not easy considering how much he cares for the human being he has in his care. The human being he holds so dearly to his hearts and loves so, so much.
But, one night, Clara's screams just can't be ignored because she wants him too. Sometimes you have to go against the words of the person you love because it leaves too much pain just to overlook. He'd hate himself just to abandon her when she's fighting with her inner demons when he knows that she'd look after him when he's sparring with his. It's that sort of relationship, his and Clara's.
On that night he's just sitting in the TARDIS library, mostly just waiting for Clara to wake up and partly because he enjoys the serenity of being around books (no Vashta Nerada in this library, thank you very much.). He can normally sit out the next six hours or so while Clara regains her energy in peace, mourning the people he's lost and cherishing the one he's got.
But it's the horrific, terrified scream which carries down the corridor that completely and utterly disturbs his current solitude. His ears prick and his eyes widen and he completely forsakes the tranquillity he's created in the past few hours or so.
He practically vaults out his arm chair, surprising himself with his own hand-eye coordination as he scurries across the carpeted floor with the skill of a person who does a lot of running.
His shoes squeak loudly against the metallic floor of the corridor and he doesn't even stop when he stubs his toe (hard) against a random box which appears to be lying in the corridor- Clara probably being nosey. Again.
When he comes to her bedroom door, which is open slightly, he practically throws it off its hinges with the amount of force he uses in order to open it fully.
"Clara?" her name catches in his throat as he pants in order to get his breath back. He then repeats this beautiful, sweet name needlessly because, well, he likes saying it. "Clara?"
She's curled up in a tight, foetal position in the centre of her bed, the duvet whipped off and thrown on to the floor in a messy heap. Her hair is damp with sweat and her hands are pulled across her perfect face in order to hide the tears she's shedding.
Except the hiding isn't working this time. Her body is convulsing so heavily with the sobs she's somehow managing to let escape that the mattress shakes.
And it's killing him on the inside.
"Clara?" he recaps, sprinting over to her bedside. She's so caught up in her own thoughts to even know he's there.
He dances around the bed for a few moments because he doesn't know what to do; he's not normally put in this situation. Amy had bad dreams, but she had Rory.
Who does Clara have?
Him, of course.
He decides the best option is to scramble onto the mattress, beside her, try to stop the crying. Because it she doesn't stop soon he's concerned that his hearts might break.
"Hush," he says softly to her, stroking her clammy tresses softly with his hands in order to give her some sort of comfort. "You're safe here, Clara. It's just a dream. A dream."
She continues to sob although her body is beginning to relax, no longer trembling with the weight of her nightmares. "Doctor?"
She doesn't try and push him away this time, she doesn't try and protest. It's past all that now: she's wading too deep in order to get out on her own.
He plants a gentle kiss amongst her brunette waves. "I'm here. Always here. Always for you. I'm guarding you, remember?"
He sinks down into the mattress so he's lying down right next to her, their bodies' side-by-side: her back tight against his stomach.
"Hold me." she whispers desperately.
She lets her arm reach behind her so he can take it. Cherish it. And of course, he does. He brings her shivering palm to his lips, hoping to kiss some life back into them. This is not the Clara he likes to see- so vulnerable and fragile. Not the sassy, argumentative, pain-in-the-arse he has the pleasure of travelling with on a daily basis.
He uses his other hand to pull her delicate body right into his, tucking it taut against his chest. Letting her know that he's here to protect her, whether it's from her haunting reveries or reality. He's always there for her and she should never have to hide anything so damaging from him.
"I was… I was falling…" she starts to choke, but he shushes her.
"Don't speak." he murmurs into her hair, "You don't have to."
The sobbing subsides and she's almost back to her normal breathing after several minutes of them just being together. She begins to realise that maybe if she'd let him in earlier maybe things wouldn't be so bad.
"Don't let me leave you." she whispers softly, her hand still frantically clinging onto his and his squeezing hers like he's never going to let go.
He laughs slightly, tucking her even tighter into him for reassurance. "Never, Clara Oswald. Even when you're so sick and tired of me that you're begging for some sort of release, I won't let you go. That alright?"
She chuckles too. "Fine by me."
He grins as she begins to fall asleep, her breathing relaxing into short little snores, yet he still keeps as tight a grip round her for the rest of the night until she wakes up in the morning.
She doesn't have nightmares again after that.