A/N: Yes, it's another 11/Clara story. I just couldn't resist. Probably a few parts, quite fluffy, bit angsty too. A Slow Path Fic. Enjoy!
Reviews/favourites/follows are like gold to me.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
"So… We're lost." Clara stated, swirling the straw around in her milkshake as she watched the Doctor brood from the other side of the table: that's all he'd done for the past hour. Sit there. Scowl occasionally. Look vacant. "Very, very lost."
The Doctor didn't look away from the window. His eyes, slightly narrowed to avoid the glare of the sun reflected off the glass, were constantly scanning the world going on outside. After a few moments, he smiled slightly, whether it was about a memory or directed at her Clara couldn't really tell. "Yeah. Just a bit."
Clara nodded, her forehead crinkling a little as she stratified a response. "And, as a guess, how long are we going to be lost for?"
The Doctor sighed, turning away from the window and running a hand roughly through his scruffy, dark hair. His eyes looked straight at her; but they were filled with so much regret and desperation it scared her rather than comforted her. It didn't help that he hadn't touched his milkshake. If the Doctor ignored food it proved that things were looking dire. "Honestly? I really, really don't know."
Now, that really worried Clara. She tried not to let it show by nodding again, but when the Doctor confessed lack of knowledge something really bitter stirred inside of her. However often he admitted that he didn't have a plan he always did and they were always alright in the end. This time, though? The Doctor was as clueless as she was.
Just forty Earth minutes ago, they watched the TARDIS disappear right in front of them.
She'd been acting funny all day. The Doctor had noticed it, of course, a few groans which shouldn't be and the odd drastic shift which sent the both him and Clara toppling over onto the floor. The central column would wheeze and dim simultaneously, and the lights above would flicker and leave them in complete darkness. The Doctor had suggested a light break, just a few hours, in order to let the 'illness' dissipate, so he took her to this world called New Earth which, she had to admit, was pretty cool.
But as soon as they stepped out of the doors, the TARDIS did that unfamiliar groaning noise and just took off. Without them inside. And things were beginning to look very bad indeed.
"Oh." Clara replied. Suddenly she wasn't so thirsty anymore, so she pushed her drink across the table. "Not good."
The Doctor chuckled despite the situation. He let his hands lean across the table and he pressed them tightly on hers, giving her some sort of reassurance. "I'm sorry, Clara. I will try and get us out of this."
She liked the warmth he'd pressed into her palms, making her feel a little less scared. "I know you will. You always do."
She tried to pretend not to have seen the grimace on his face when she'd said those last three words. She shouldn't have, not really. She knew there was a possibility that they'd be stuck on this planet forever and the TARDIS would never come back to them, and she knew there was a possibility that the Doctor was thinking that too.
The Doctor was so vulnerable without his box. Like a little kid whose lost their favourite teddy, or a dreamer that's lost their dream, or a daughter who's lost their mother…
Or a dad whose lost them both.
She tried not to think about her dad because she just became so overridden with guilt. What if they really were stuck in this place? What would happen to him? He never got over the death of her mum eight years ago and he'd definitely never get over it if she was lost too.
"I always do." the Doctor smiled, and she smiled back. "She's probably just having a break. Slight temporal flux. I'm sure she'll be back tomorrow, right as rain. Actually no, not rain… I hate rain! That's a stupid saying. Stupid rain. You know what I like? Snow! Snow is good. Unless…"
He looked at her for a moment, like she was impossible. Like he couldn't quite believe she was really here at all. "Unless the snow remembers. Bad snow."
"Snow that remembers?" she raised an eyebrow, a bemused smirk on her face. "That's silly."
He sighed, leaning back in his chair. He span the straw around in his milkshake before removing it, and licked the end of it. He never could drink anything normally. "Yeah, I think it probably is. Most definitely."
"Although," Clara replied, looking into him intently, "Blue box and two hearts? Started to think that silly is no longer an option."
"The blue box, too. No longer an option. For now, anyway." he smiled sadly. "I'm sorry."
"What you sorry for?" she asked. "Could have happened any time. Can't be helped."
"You're not angry that I've trapped you here? Thousands of years and billions of miles from home?" the Doctor queried, his brow furrowing.
She thought about this for several moments. She wasn't angry. Of course she wasn't. He'd warned her about the dangers involved in time travelling and did that put her off? "No. No, I don't think so."
He leaned forwards on his elbows. "Clara Oswald, you really do astound me."
In more ways than one.
"Could be fun, me and you and a whole new planet. For me, anyway." she shrugged. "Okay, we have no money…"
The Doctor toyed with his sonic screwdriver between his fingers. "If we can find a cashpoint we can sort that little aspect out."
Clara smirked. "Okay… But, like you said, the TARDIS will turn up before long and we can leave and everything will be fine. Just a day, a few maybe, right?"
"Right." the Doctor nodded, although she knew he was less than optimistic about the idea. He just didn't want to worry her (which made her worry that bit more). "Yes. Of course."
"Good." she grinned, "So should we find somewhere to stay, then?"
"Looks like we're going to have to." he replied, scattering a few random coins and a button which he'd found in his pockets as means of a tip. "I think there's a hotel up the road. Fine, if it's just going to be a day or two."
Well. Clara thought, a hotel. A good start.
But that bitter feeling in her stomach was telling her that there were going to have to get somewhere more permanent before long.
She was sure –more than sure- that the TARDIS wasn't just going to show up and everything would be fine. Nothing was ever that easy, was it?