Summary: While on the sub heading to the TARDIS, Clara is attacked by one of the crew members and the Doctor steps in to save her. Based on a prompt from whoufflelibrary (a fantastic tumble account, in case you didn't already know).
It got boring very quickly on a sub, Clara finds. Most of the crew is dead (and their bodies haunt her during those cold, damp, sleepless nights) which meant that everyone is busy. Even the Doctor found things to tinker with, though she's fairly certain that it's because without any work he'd go mad. Unfortunately, there's not much on the sub that she's allowed to do – both the Doctor and the Professor treat her like she's china, insisting she doesn't want to work in the engine rooms or scrub the galley.
She sighs, the faint noise echoing off the metal walls. She's wandering around the lower decks, eyes scanning the signs that tell her where storage is, and where luggage is. She knows the bodies are down here somewhere, and the thought makes her shiver. It's not the most pleasant place to take a walk.
She nearly jumps out of her skin at the sound of footsteps on metal. "Hello?" she calls, voice the slightest bit strained. There's nothing on the sub that can hurt her, she reminds herself, but she can still feel a ghost of Skaldek's hands on her face.
The face of a friendly crew member appears around the corner ahead of her. "Hello, Miss Oswald!" he says, saluting cheekily at her.
Clara lets out a breath. "Oh, good. You startled me."
"It does get a bit spooky down here, doesn't it?" he agrees, joining her. His arms are full of boxes, labeled 'potatoes' and 'canned ham.' She wrinkles her nose, guessing that's what they're having for dinner.
"Yeah, it does." She agrees, falling into step alongside him. Maybe he'll let her help out in the galley, so she can ease her boredom.
He gives her an appraising look. "Still stuck in that dress, huh?"
"Yeah." She says. "Regretfully enough. The Doctor got it dry, but he couldn't get any of the spare clothes here to fit me."
"Ah, yes, the Doctor." He says, and she's slightly confused by his tone. He sound funny… almost jealous. "You two have got the same room, so I heard."
She nods absently. "Yeah. Silly Timelord, he tends to be overprotective." Not that she minds. The nights are easier with his double heartbeat in her ears.
The soldier shifts his heavy load in his arms. "So, you two…" the question hangs in the air, as thick as the dampness that seems to coat every surface.
"Oh, we're not… no, no, nothing like that. We travel together, that's all." Clara's been asked the same by others before, and every time she answers it with the usual; he's just a friend, he's just taking me to see the stars. It tends to evoke eye-rolls, though she isn't sure why.
The soldier stops suddenly, placing the boxes down with a groan and stretching his arms. "Awfully heavy for food that doesn't taste very good." He comments. "So he's not your boyfriend? Shame." Somehow she gets the sense that it's not a shame at all.
She leans against the wall. They're just outside the galley, but it's silent. "Yeah, I guess. He's an awful lot for one person to handle. You should see him when he gets into the sugar – I swear, he has jelly babies for breakfast."
"Nah, I don't think anyone would be too much for you to handle." The soldier says, taking a step closer.
Clara blinks, confused. "Sorry, what? You hitting on me, mate?"
"Well, I…" he shrugs, seemingly embarrassed. "I suppose you could say so. What's a man to do? You just walk into this sub, all glammed up with those huge doe eyes—"
"Hold it there." Clara says, turning red. "That's really sweet, and I know you mean well, but I really don't think—"
She yelps, finding her arms suddenly pinned to her sides. The soldier is almost leering at her. No, it's definitely a leer, and she's horribly uncomfortable with him that close. "Oi!" She squeaks.
"You don't like me?" he asks, voice a lot less sweet now that he's got her under his control. "I thought you wouldn't have a preference, dressed the way you were…"
She isn't sure if he's calling her a prostitute, but she resents it nevertheless. "Lay off!" she orders. "I just want to get to the North Pole, that's all. No strings attached, sorry. No, you know what? I'm not sorry. If this is how you behave when you don't get your way then I pity the woman who marries you."
He faces twists, expression morphing from a leer to a grimace. "Don't talk to me like that!" He shouts, forcefully pulling her from the wall and then slamming her back into it. Clara shrieks, the air knocked from her lungs. She opens her mouth to scream again and finds a huge, sweaty hand over it. "And don't shout, damn it! Shouting won't do you any good anyway, everyone's below working on the engines."
He presses into her fully, and despite his hand Clara's muffled sound of disgust is audible. She wriggles in his grip, slamming a knee upwards. She smirks when she hears him cry out in pain, and darts away from him. The stairs are just a few feet away, and she's sure that she can make it down to the engine room before he does. She did just incapacitate him, after all.
A hand snatches her ankle, and Clara screams again as she stumbles and lands on her knees. A sharp pain blooms in her left knee, and she instinctively curls her body away from her captor. "Don't think you can just get away from me like that." He snarls.
Clara isn't sure what's happening anymore; it's a blur of fear and pain as he climbs on top of her. She's screaming, briefly, until a sharp crack resounds in the room and she tastes blood. The soldier's hand covers her entire mouth, making it hard to breathe. He's grappling with the buttons of her coat, hiking up her dress—
And then he's gone.
Clara lays on the ground, shivering and looking around the room in confusion. There's an enormous noise, skin and bone hitting metal. Then she hears the Doctor shouting at the soldier. The pure rage behind his words can' be defined as shouting really, especially not when it's partially in a language where words seem to sear through Clara's skull.
The noise brings other men in, and someone tries to step between the soldier and the Doctor. Fearing that the worst will happen, in a hoarse voice Clara asks, "Doctor?"
He's at her side in an instant, of course he is. "Shhhh, Clara." He soothes, eyes scanning her body to assess the damage. "It's alright, I promise. I promise you, it's going to be alright."
He gently cradles her head in both hands, but when he looks as if he's about to pull her up into a sitting position, he withdraws like she's bitten him. "Clara, I'm not going to hurt you."
Clara squints at him, wondering why he's acting that way. Does he… does he really think she'd ever fear him? Her head lolls to the side as a wave of nausea and dizziness hits her, and she sees hr face reflected in the metal walls. Warped, with huge blank eyes and a bleeding mouth. She probably looks terrified to him.
"No, Doctor, it's okay." She manages, finding that words are hard to summon. She reaches out a bruised hand to him, offering her shaky fingers and clammy palm. He take sit at once, pressing sot kisses to her palm and the back of her hand, then to the tip of each digit.
"I'll help you sit up, okay?" he asks. She nods.
It hurts, a little, but after a few minutes of just sitting while the Doctor alternates between gently rubbing her back and kissing her forehead, Clara starts to get her bearings back. "M'okay."
"Come on, then." He tells her, guiding her to her feet. His voice is endlessly soft, so unlike the one he's used on the soldier. "You'll be fine, I promise."