Eternity and Tomorrow
a short story by J. Merrick
Timeline/spoilers: Post-The Name of the Doctor
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who. Or the various songs I either blatantly or vaguely allude to.
Summary: She had been there to pull him out of darkness before, and it was only right that he returned the favor. An 11/Clara fic, set post-The Name of the Doctor.
X X X
He supposed that it shouldn't have surprised him. After all, how many times had one of his companions sacrificed themselves for him? How many times had he failed to pull a trigger, only for one of his own to pull it for him?
This was no different. She should have just been the latest in a long line of amazing beings that he had the pleasure of knowing that was willing to give up so much, there short little time, for someone that was going to live for ages.
The Lonely God he had been called.
Then she came around. Three times that he noticed. Then those thousands of times before, after, and during.
Logically she was just another person willing to give everything when he never could.
That wasn't acceptable.
In all that he was, she was there for so much more. She had sent herself into his timeline, knowing that it would shatter her across the ages, rewriting what had already been rewritten…yet putting it right.
All this time she had been calling for him across the ages, and she had finally caught up to him only to be torn away once more.
It was a cruelty that he was forced to endure he last goodbye with the woman he could never promise eternity to, but had anyways. He loved River in a way that never quite made sense to him, but felt right. They had been perfect for each other, except they had always been traveling in opposite directions.
It didn't make sense, but it wasn't impossible. Clara was.
His impossible girl, and he couldn't stop himself from saving her like he couldn't save River.
All those years, those possibilities that River had sacrificed with him the first time they met in the most important library in the universe. It was like that leaf, the most important leaf in the universe. The leaf that stood for all those years unlived, all those chances gone.
It was an impossible dream, but they were two impossible beings weren't they?
She had been there, through everything. In one way or another, the girl that came into being because of the most important and impossible leaf in the universe had become the most important and impossible girl in the universe.
At least to him.
That's why he had to at least try.
She had been there to pull him out of darkness before, and it was only right that he returned the favor. From all the other emotions that were rushing through his mind and his hearts, he had to try because for her she had done an impossible task.
She had saved him.
That was enough to go on.
X X X
She opened her eyes with minor trepidation, anticipating the rush of pain that came from knowing that she had split who she was across thousands of years and thousands of lives.
But it didn't come.
Instead she recognized her bedroom, and all the smells that were associated with it. She looked over to her nightstand and-
A bouquet of flowers and a plate of Jammie Dodgers. She smiled at the gesture that was so him. That man, that impossible man…
She looked around her room, expecting to see him sitting there, and was quite disappointed to find that he wasn't. She collapsed back down into the bed, thinking back to the last thing she remembered.
That was a mistake as the crush of a thousand years, a thousand lives, and all the unknown possibilities of those lives came crashing into her head.
Those years living on Gallifrey…the time spent in the 50s, 60s, 70, and 80s…the times she died…when she became a Dalek…
She cried out in pain, but was quickly surprised by a pair of arms wrapping themselves around her.
"Shhh," whispered the gentle soothing voice of her Lonely God, "its okay, you're alive, you're here right now. It's alright."
"Oh Doctor," she cried as he stroked her back, absently noting in the back of her mind above all the noise and confusion that she was making his shirt quite wet.
They stayed like that for quite a while, her crying into his shirt while he silently stroked his back, offering soothing words into her ears. She was feeling quite embarrassed by the time this was done, because she normally was a quite calm, and composed person…and here she was bawling into the shirt of the man that she had taken pains not to appear as a weak, and helpless girl to.
"Doctor," she finally said, causing his hand to pause for a second, "why does it hurt so much?"
She heard the quick intake of air from the man who she knew hated sitting still for even half a moment, and yet here he was, comforting her.
"The human brain just wasn't designed for all those memories," he responded after a beat, "It's doing its best to sort out all this new information."
"I can remember so much," she said, her tears starting to cry up on her face, "I can remember so much and nothing at all. I can remember the orange skies of Gallifrey! I can remember your ridiculous hair and scarf! I can remember falling…never not falling…"
She chanced a look at his face, so close to her own. She was shocked by the pools of emotion that she saw in his eyes. That emotion…directed at her! She latched onto that comfort, that lifeline.
"Then you came and found me," she said, looking into his eyes, not caring about the streaks that she probably had running down her face.
"Clara I will always find you," he said with such sincerity that for a second she was blinded as if the Eye of Harmony was shining through his eyes, "You are my impossible girl, and you have saved me so many times."
She just stares into his eyes, mesmerized by the burning suns that are held within and starts to feel the pain fade slightly. The memories of her prior lives slowly falling into place.
"I was all those people, how do I know who I am anymore?" she asked, "I keep expecting to look out the window and see the orange skies of Gallifrey…oh now I know why you like that word so much."
They both laughed as the Doctor pressed his forehead to hers, causing her heart rate to kick up a notch. They had always been so close, yet so far. Now it was mere atoms of air.
"I remember being a Dalek," she whispered, "I remember calling for you, and you not hearing me…"
"My Clara, I hear you now," he whispered back, his hands coming up to cup her cheeks, staring back into her eyes, her eyes which reflected the burning sun in his with two galaxies in hers, before closing his eyes as he closed the finale moments between them.
The first kiss was very gentle, almost tentative, as if neither of them knew what they were doing.
The second was more urgent, as if anticipated with thousands of years, and many lives. Just as quickly as it started, in the eyes of two people who years were now as mayflies, it was over. A lifetime of possibilities and a promise of the future spoken in those moments.
"Doctor, I," she said, breathless, her eyes still closed, as they rested their foreheads on each other.
"Shhh," he replied, leaning her back down, "You need your rest. Your mind is barely a dam, and I won't let it break too soon."
"Or you'll see me on the dark side of the moon?" she responded, with a chuckle.
"We have moons to see and galaxies to explore my impossible girl," he said with a chuckle, a small gasp escaping from his lips as Clara opened her eyes again, and the emotion emanating from her orbs grasping him by the hearts and refusing to let go, "Sleep now. I'll be here."
"Yes, my Doctor."
And she went to sleep, the sight of the Doctor's beautiful eyes the last image in her head.
X X X
A couple hours later she was still sleeping, and the Doctor was – for once – sitting still.
It was odd; the things that this impossible girl got him to do that others couldn't. Many had gotten him to do things here and there that he normally didn't, but this one impossible girl had not only tipped his world on its many axes, but got him to do so willingly.
Rose had gotten him to see that there was a world beyond the Time War.
Donna had shown that it was possible for him to have friends again.
Amy had shown that it was possible to have family.
River had shown that it was possible to love and to hurt.
And to say goodbye.
That, he reflected as he looked at Clara's small body, finally resting easy, was the greatest gift that his dearly departed wife could give him. He had always hated saying goodbye, because as a Time Lord it was such a quaint idea, they knew each other for centuries upon centuries.
Saying that you knew a fellow Time Lord for "ages" wasn't just an expression, it was true.
Thus he had always had a hard time telling his human companions goodbye, he only got to know them for a short time before they had to leave his life. It was too hard. How could he, the mightiest coward to ever live, say such a small thing? Say such a small thing that meant so much?
Then he finally confronted that closed off portion of his heart. That part that had made it so hard to say goodbye from the aspect of thousands of years looking down at but a few. It hurt so much, but it felt so good, knowing that it was closing the pages on a book well read.
He looked over at the sleeping form of Clara, the impossible girl. His impossible girl.
Looking back he had to smile at the little things, the little words, which had built their relationship up. The amount of times people had referred to them as a couple and neither of them had felt the urge to correct them. The little sly smiles they shared each time that happen.
The times she had heard Clara talking to a being on a different planet and they had referred to him as her boyfriend, and all she had done was smile in his direction instead of correct them. The times that she had been referred to as his girlfriend, and he hadn't even bothered with a correction, just squeezing her hand instead.
When Angie and Artie had referred to them as a couple he had just squeezed her around the shoulders and let them go running ahead.
He wasn't a domestic. He didn't do domestic. River was easy; they went running to each other as much as they went running away from each other. He had asked her to stay once, but she had pointed out to him that wasn't their lot in life, they were to be intersecting, only meeting up for moments at a time, with he always knowing that fixed point in time when she died.
Then there was the impossible girl, the girl that was forever running to him. The girl that had lived lifetimes running, waiting for her impossible man to realize that she was calling.
He had constantly been waiting for tomorrow, his entire life. Then she brought it to him, and he had finally caught up.
He was startled from his thoughts by movement next to him, and watched with a barely gleeful smile as she woke up.
"Hello," she breathed, looking at him with a smile.
"Hi," he replied, "How are you feeling?"
"I'm…I'm doing better," she replied, her eyes still shining like the birth of galaxies.
"That's, that's fantastic!" he replied, barely keeping his giddiness in check, knowing the emotional turmoil she had just been through. He stood up, being careful not to hit his head on her ceiling, quickly scanning her with the sonic. She gave him a quizzical look, before he put it back in his pocket, "Well, now that I can tell your body is feeling much better, I suppose it's time I do this properly."
He didn't hesitate to see what she was thinking behind those eyes, instead kissing her with all the emotion that had been boiling over in his head. The years that he had spent catching up to her, finally in place.
They broke apart for air and they both couldn't stop the giddy laughs that escaped them.
"I have spent the past lifetime falling," Clara remarked, holding onto his head with a cupped hand, "thank you for catching me."
Eternity and tomorrow could wait; he had today to hold in his arms.
A/n: I am sort of in love with the entire ending of the Name of the Doctor and I can see myself writing many words that spin out of that. This is probably as overtly romantic as I can get, even though my head!canon is firmly in the 11/Clara realm. Well, I say that this is as overtly romantic as I can get, knowing full well I can listen to something tomorrow and write a scene depicting the two of them in Paris eating soufflé.
Also I very much could have titled this Dark Side of the Moon, and I still think it would make a decent subtitle. But I'm not an important enough writer to write subtitles.
Reviews would be great and much appreciated. I try to respond to just about every review that I get, because I appreciate the time that it takes to do so!
Thanks again, and see you soon!