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It took a nice long shower to get the scent of tea out of her nose.
The water had been delectably cool but she could not shake the feeling of tea dribbling on her skin throughout it. It should have been comfortable but all Clara could think about were those people reduced to puddles. She could even taste it still when she swallowed, despite her never having tasted it.
Ruby and her crystalline children were all alright. Ruby, as it turns out, was the Sultana of a planet called Kristala, several hundred million light years away. The Stravalox have always been clients of the Kristallines – their special crystals were used for absorption and compression, but never had they been used with Z-neutrino energy and electric things, among other alien technology things that made Clara's head spin. She didn't really know how to make sense of it other than what the Stravaloxi couple was doing was illegal – obviously – and not something their entire race did.
UNIT had taken over the Space Station as soon as The Doctor managed to call up the local force – it was an Earth based station, after all. It was in their division to fix everything. Despite winning, she still saw people literally melt in front of her eyes. Not everyone survived the reabsorption process.
"Saved another world again, ey?" The Doctor had said when they returned to the TARDIS.
"Yeah. Yeah, sure," she had replied. But still, winning didn't always feel like winning.
The Kristalline children had thanked her, gave her some of their gems even. She wanted to say no but The Doctor said that refusal of a gift from the royal family of Kristala was a high offence that could possibly wage a war against the entire human race and that was when Clara shushed him and told him to be quiet. She took the stones, gave them a hug, and waved to them as they ran to their mother.
The whole day had been a mess of emotions. It was sad and happy and brilliant and scary. Just another day with The Doctor.
When she left the shower she had found, she was overwhelmed by the scent of burning coming from somewhere in the TARDIS and it was relatively near where she was. Common sense told her to find her way back to the main console and tell The Doctor that there was a fire going on in his ship. Another voice told her that maybe The Doctor had set himself on fire.
The latter seemed more probable.
She walked and followed her nose as she tried to find where the fire had come from. The corridors seemed brighter, though. Maybe the old snog box was starting to warm up to her. Either way, she wasn't particularly in the mood to get snippy with the TARDIS. She's had a full day and the last thing she needed was to put out some sort of alien fire that might probably require some alien water ritual or something.
What she didn't expect was the familiar sound of clanking metal – pots and pans.
"Oi! That is not supposed to happen!" she heard The Doctor yell a few rooms down. Clara practically ran to the door and saw something so odd that she never expected it in the TARDIS of all places.
It was a run of the mill English kitchen – not the claptrap of some big alien kitchen with stoves the length of townhouses or something. It was just a neat little kitchen – kind of like the one she used to have back home. There was black smoke coming from the oven and The Doctor was waving about his arms – honestly, it looked like a drunk giraffe who was doing "the worm" dance while standing up – trying to get the smoke out.
His face was scowling and he had a mess of black stuff on his nose that rather made him look like a chimney sweep from Mary Poppins. He was also wearing an apron. With lace trimmings.
"Doctor?" she called out. She was standing by the door, leaning on the doorframe. Her hair was in short braided pigtails. She was adorable – so adorable that he grinned, both hands in the air. One hand was holding a wooden spoon, the other a whisk.
"Oh! Hello there, Clara!" He was still waving about the smoke as if he were thrusting it away, trying to create his own hurricane to blow the smoke away. Maybe he could even control the wind a little bit. With all she knew – and didn't know – about The Doctor, it wasn't that far off.
"What are you doing?" She had her "serious face" on but by all her mother's stars, she was trying so hard not to laugh.
"Just a mo'. Just trying to-" The Doctor gave the poor oven a kick and it stopped belching smoke. The Doctor sighed in relief, wiped the sweat off his brow with his arm, and smiled at her. "You had a bad day. Thought you might like a strawberry soufflé. Hey, that rhymed – good, eh?"
Clara stared at him for a few seconds then her lips trembled and then she giggled so freely and laughed so beautifully that The Doctor just stood there, set the spoon and whisk down, and watched her be happy. Sunrise to sunset – she was still so beautiful.
She walked over to the oven and inspected it. She let out a cough before she took a pair of cooking gloves by the sink and took out the well-burnt strawberry soufflé.
"Very nearly, Doctor," she finally said. "I suppose it was just too beautiful to live."
The kitchen was a mess and she really shouldn't be surprised. The Doctor was a hurricane all on his own person and it's no wonder why it was so easy to sweep her off her feet. There were eggshells all about and batter spilled around everywhere. The Doctor was never one for neatness but the gesture was very sweet.
"I think it's still edible?" The Doctor's statement sounded like a question. His hands were nervously rubbing against his chest as he tried to move around her and see what her expression was. She turned around and took off the gloves and set them on the table. She jumped at him and hugged him, her arms around his neck.
"Oh, hugging, yes! I like hugging!" he said, holding him to her in such a tight embrace that she was off the floor. He twisted her around and he could feel her giggle, her lips now on his neck. "Thank you," she whispered.
He felt her pull away and he set her down on the floor. What he wasn't expecting when he set her down was the quick kiss she planted on his cheek right after. He straightened his back, stepped back in surprise, and put a hand on his cheek.
"Ey?" He was grinning and he could feel that he was blushing. Clara was looking at him like the saucy minx that she was and he knew she was teasing him. He straightened his bowtie, smirked, and said, "Shut up."
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A/N: And that's it! That's the end!
I feel astonishingly proud of myself as this is actually the first multichapter fic I've actually finished. I really, truly hope that you enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it and learning it! The Doctor and Clara are such wonderful characters to ship and play with and I absolutely loved writing for them! I'm excited to get back to them as next on my list is a whoufflé AU of Beauty and the Beast and I've got another idea with whoufflé and the origin of the soufflé. So stay tuned – you'll definitely be hearing more from me. I love this ship and I need whoufflé to be canon like I need air to breathe.
To suggest more whoufflé recs for me – just go to ohmyoswinstars on Tumblr and leave me a six-word prompt in my ask box. Thank you so, so, so very much for taking the time to read this story and it means the world to me that you've all been so lovely.
Reviews help Clara judge the snog box! Also, they make me happy and keep me motivated to write. I'll see you all very soon! (If the finale doesn't kill me.) :)