The last time was three days ago. It was a Thursday, he remembered.
To be precise, it had been Thursday at the time and at the place he physically was, but if he stopped to think about it (which he did only when bored senseless and waiting for the ship to charge up in Cardiff or while stuck watching black cubes of nothingness for days on end), it was actually the fifth Galari'en of Karesharad.
But, well, actually, now that he thought about it again, that would translate to a Thursday on Earth.
...it was still all relative. Shut up.
So, right then, Thursday.
He had just rescued the most mysterious Clara from a soul sucking WiFi Hot Spot, which really, considering he had started his morning as a fake monk having a long think in the 13th century, was a strange enough day already - even by his standards.
He had just picked up a book off her shelf (101 Places to See? Really? Only 101?) and was flipping idly through the pages when without warning, it hit him.
A burst of consciousness. A screaming explosion of thoughtless, joyful emotion surging through the back of his mind, through those neural pathways that had grown weak from lack of use.
Like always, it only lasted a few moments, but it floored him for a minute. He was quite glad that there was no one else to witness the fact that he literally had just stopped, paused mid-motion like a bad screencap.
He came back to himself and picked up the red leaf at the beginning of the book. He examined it for a moment before licking it.
Oh, just disgusting. What had ever possessed him to do that in the past. He always regressed a bit whenever it happened but this was just...even now, three days later, he could still taste the dirt. And not the good gourmet dirt like they have on Cargipal 12, no this was plain old Earth dirt. 87th from the bottom on the list of planetary soils by taste.
He hadn't felt even a twinge in quite a while. He hadn't been quite sure what to make of that. His hope had been that the connection had just finally dwindled down. He never wanted to think about the alternative that the other end was
But, there hadn't been anything since that Thursday. Not too surprising since they were only frequent at the beginning when they used to appear without warning several times a day. Back when he travelled alone and had a different face. Before borrowed reading glasses and dying on a beach, before fish fingers and custard, before relief and joy and hope were shattered by tentative knocking on a glass door.
A knock on the outside of the actual TARDIS doors almost made him fall off his chair.
What? Oh, right. Right, yes. Clara.
"Come in," he called casually, smiling a little as the door opened.
In an entirely different place, it was still that same Thursday, relatively. Time moves differently in different places, of course. Unfortunately, the man who could explain that properly was at the moment laughing, one of those exhausted, happy, slightly hysterical laughs. The blonde woman beside him couldn't help but join in after a few seconds.
"It has been way too long since we did that," the man gasped out after finally calming down. He looked over at her, his eyes shining as they drank in the sight of her.
"I was only gone a week, love," she protested, shaking her head with an amused expression.
"Only a w - Only a week!" the man protested, his voice jumping up an octave or three by the last syllable. His eyebrows drew together and she knew he was about to begin one of his lectures. "I ll have you know that a week in human days is proportionally equal to hundreds of years in - "
"Y'know, normal people would just say 'I missed you'," she interrupted calmly.
He turned red and sputtered a bit, scrambling for words. Words, his old reliable friend, his trusted sword and shield, always failed him miserably whenever it came to these still awkward and foreign "talks" about "feelings". He had become very comfortable with those three little words that meant so much to her, but the rest... Why couldn't it be easy like it was for him so very long ago, when there was no need for speech, no need to say anything - just the simple waves of emotions and thoughts dancing along the telepathic pathways in his - He bolted upright, the blankets falling off of his chest and gathering in a wrinkled puddle at his waist.
"What's wrong?" She sat up next to him and rubbed his back softly, trying not to convey any of the alarm she felt.
"I forgot," he replied quietly.
"I forgot to block it." He turned to her with dark, serious eyes.
"Oh, for crying out - stop being so melodramatic and mysterious. I'm too tired for that right now," she groaned, flopping back onto the pillows. "I'm on the pill, if you re worried about that."
"What? No! I remember that - I just..." he sighed. "I forgot to block my telepathic pathways before you attacked me - "
"I attacked you?!" she exclaimed, sitting up again with her eyebrows raised.
"Well, attacked - probably more like seduced." He glanced over. "Well, probably more like allowed yourself to be seduced."
"Ok, fine, before I unceremoniously tossed you over my shoulder like some sort of caveman, kicked the front door shut and threw you onto the bed," he admitted. She grinned in that teasing way of hers, with her tongue peeking out from behind her teeth. From between that full, teasing mouth. He stared as her tongue darted out to moisten her bottom lip. He dragged his eyes away from her mouth, taking in her still flushed cheeks and the twinkle of amusement in her eyes.
"You were saying?"
"I what?" He jumped a little, making her giggle. "Ah, right, yes, erm," he cleared his throat. "Well, remember how I told you that I'm a little bit psychic?"
"That sounds like a bad pick up line, but yes."
"Shush," he admonished. "My psychic or telepathic qualities are a result of certain neural pathways in the submetatemporal zone of my brain. I can, and long ago always did, block portions of those pathways in order to prevent thoughts from escaping out of me and into others of my kind. Once I realized I still had them, I remembered to block them off again. However, given that my people never existed here and there s no one to hear anything, for lack of a better term, I tend to not bother. It s easier to leave it off in my new form. And, really, it's not a problem except that, as we learned during his regeneration, the stronger emotions can seep across the void. I've been exceptionally careful during times of heightened emotion such as, well..." he gestured down at the curvy lines of her body, still very visible under the bedcovers. He reached out and ran one finger slowly along the outside line of her hip. She raised an eyebrow.
"Did you just tell me that you forgot to put on your brain condom?"
"What? No! Well... no! It's not... well, erm... yes."
"And you are just beautiful," he replied. He moved his body towards her, reaching out to hold her, pull her close, claim her once again as his, be claimed once more as hers. He looked at her face with unabashed love and adoration. "My beautiful Rose Tyler," he whispered, drawling out her name in that way he always did.
Back on that three-days-since-Thursday, Clara was staring at the Doctor curiously. He had paused mid-ramble.
"Doctor?" she asked cautiously.
"Right!" he exclaimed, springing back to life suddenly. Clara looked at him like he was insane. The Doctor cringed inwardly. It was times like these that he wanted to go over to Pete's World just to smack his spare hand upside the head. I mean, really, you would think a Time Lord, even if he were just a half Time Lord would have a better since of, well, timing. The Doctor skittered around the console room floor and put his hand on a big shiny red button. He grinned at the brunette before slamming it down.
"Off we go then, Clara Oswald. Allons-y!"