A/N: This will probably go on for about three parts. I hope you enjoy it, please give me feedback (reviews yay)
It's around ten o'clock on a Sunday that the doorbell rings. Mr Maitland and Artie have just left the house for one of Artie's ridiculously scheduled chess tournaments so Clara is left alone with Angie.
Clara groans from her position at the peak of the stepladder she's standing on: attempting to change the main light bulb in the back living room with great difficulty due to her lack of height. She's almost there, so close to screwing it in… No way is she giving in now. "Angie? Can you get that?"
She hears a frustrated sigh and a grunt of annoyance from the hallway as Angie reluctantly canters down the stairs; she's seriously surprised that Angie is already out of her pyjamas. It's at that stage where Angie is practically dragged out of bed at midday- mind you, she's a teenager. Clara wasn't a lot better at that age (admittedly, she still likes her atrociously long lie-ins).
There are another couple of rings and a few bangs on the glass pane accompanied with Angie yelling for God's sake I'm coming before the door actually opens; and despite the fact that Clara really just wants to change this stupid light bulb she can't help but try and listen into the conversation. She hears a man's voice and Angie's of course- but it's hard to decipher whom the other voice belongs to.
She's about to call out, but Angie's head pops round the living room door. Her charge tries to look completely disinterested and nonchalant as usual, but even Angie can't supress a little grin from turning up the corners of her lips and the mischievous glint in her eye. "Clara, your boyfriend is at the door."
"My what?" Clara drops the light-bulb (which, reluctantly, she admits her lack of height means she'll never be able to change it in anyway) and clatters down the stepladder. Angie just grins and rushes back up the stairs before Clara can ask any more questions. "Angie!"
She rolls her eyes. She loved Angie, she really did- but she annoyed the heck out of her sometimes. Sceptically, she walks away from her disastrous attempt of home maintenance and approaches the hallway. It isn't Wednesday. He never comes on any other day apart from Wednesday. Unless there's something wrong…
Her heart stutters; but as she leaves the living room and sees the Doctor at the door, grinning like some sort of maniac as per, she realises that there isn't really anything wrong at all.
"Clara!" he throws his arms up in exclamation, "Hello! Just had a lovely talk with Angie. Apparently, you've been trying to change a light for the past hour instead of helping her with her maths homework. Let me tell you, she isn't happy about it."
Definitely nothing wrong then.
"Yeah, well," as she comes closer to the door she raises her voice, just loud enough for Angie to hear from upstairs, "If someone hadn't broken the light bulb with a spontaneous game of indoor tennis, we wouldn't have this problem, would we?"
There's a muffled giggle from upstairs. Cheeky madam.
"Indoor tennis!" the Doctor rubs his hands together in glee, "That sounds splendid!"
Clara narrows her eyes, giving him a look that suggests don't even think about it. The Doctor retracts slightly. That look is pretty scary. "Why are you here in anyway? It's only a Sunday. You never come on Sundays. Sundays are boring."
The Doctor shifts on her doorstep, adjusting his bowtie ever so slightly. "Uh, well, yes… I was hoping to ask a favour."
"A favour?" Clara raises an eyebrow at the man in front of her. When the Doctor asks for a favour, it's not usually your average a cup full of sugar or change for the bus. It's more can you just risk your life for me in a really deadly, daring way for a bit while I go and try and save the universe? She leans into the doorway as her intrigue increases. "What kind of favour?"
He scuffs his shoes on the sandstone doorstep. He doesn't know why or how he's feeling shy and a tad embarrassed for asking a favour; but he does anyway. "Can I, uh, stay here for a bit?"
Clara's sure she hasn't heard properly. The Doctor is mad, mental, insane; that's why he needs his flying blue police box and the whole of time and space to explore. Confined spaces and real, linear time are just not enough for the man of Gallifrey. He lives for the stars and the stars are where he belongs. Not a little house in Chiswick with a few humans for company- it's just not him. Even if it's just for a few days.
"Sorry, what?" she asks him to repeat and reiterate. Just to check her ears aren't deceiving her.
"I asked if I could stay here for a few days," he can barely comprehend his request himself, although there are reasons behind it. "You don't mind, do you? The TARDIS is a bit wired-up. And when I say wired-up, I mean literally. I was tinkering, got ivory and pearl messed up- very messy."
Oh. She sees. He's been kicked out by the missus. She smirks at his discomfort, his guilt, because only the Doctor could make his own spaceship angry.
But, she's also happy. Something about her being the one he comes to when he's got nowhere else to go. She's never been that someone before, not to anyone; and it makes her feel just a little fuzzy on the inside when it really shouldn't.
When she doesn't respond, he feels it his job to interfere. Ring his hands. Shed some of his awkwardness. "It'll only take forty-eight hours. Seventy-two tops. I promise."
She shrugs her shoulders. Of course she wants him to stay, but it's not really her decision to make. It isn't even her house. "Come in, then. I can't say you can stay for definite but you might as well wait."
He grins and she swears she can see the stardust gleaming in his eyes. That's what time travel does to you; leaves a glittering in your irises. His hands snake round her neck and he pulls her into a tight hug which she doesn't entirely expect but she's learnt just to reciprocate and carry on.
"I've even brought a suitcase!"
He points to a small bag on wheels which is standing just behind his bandy legs. It's a rather modest suitcase (about a foot in height, not even that in width and a handle which surely does not work seeing as it is practically hanging off) which is obviously a rather extravagant shade of blue.
It also has a tag attached to it saying 'This belongs to the Doctor. If lost, please return to the TARDIS, the time vortex, the universe.'
Ah, well, some things never change.
When she opens the suitcase later on, for some reason she isn't surprised that she doesn't find one item of clothing. Unless you count a fez and two bowties and a single long john items of clothing. Instead there's an outrageous amount of jammy dodgers, a hand of bananas, that pair of sunglasses from their not-so-brilliant trip to Vegas, a pile of weird alien buttons and a lot of other things besides. Her whole bedroom seems to be covered in his paraphernalia by the time she's half-way unfinished unpacking.
"That," Angie's voice comes from the doorway, filled with surprise, "All fitted in that one suitcase?"
Clara just shakes her head to herself as she comes out with a ball of rubber bands. She chucks it from hand to hand before the Doctor, from seemingly nowhere, reaches in and grabs it from her grip.
"Time Lord technology, Clara," he lowers his voice to her ear, "It's bigger on the inside."
Of course it is.
"No, no Angie- the six always comes before the two…"
"Then why did you tell me that you had to do the nine first?"
"Yes you did! You're an idiot. I have no idea what Clara sees in you."
The argument continues, Angie snapping away at the Doctor while the Doctor tries incredibly hard not to snap back. Clara just sits amusedly in the kitchen; her hands round a hot cup of tea and taking sips every so often. It's funny watching the Doctor get attacked with verbal abuse by a fourteen-year-old girl. The same man who makes armies turn around at the very sound of his name.
The Doctor's brow furrows angrily. He pushes the open text book over to Angie and points repeatedly at a certain coloured box in the centre of the page spattered with numbers. "How could you possibly do the nine first when the six and the two blatantly come before in the sequence?"
"I don't know!" Angie retorts furiously, aggressively shoving the book right back in front of the Doctor and stabbing the box with her index finger, "Maybe it was because you were the one who told me to do the nine in the first place!"
"I did not tell you to do the nine Angie!" he turns around in his chair in order to catch Clara's eyes from across the kitchen. He looks like a wounded puppy. "Back me up on this, Clara. Tell Angie I did not tell her to do the nine first!"
"No, Clara," Angie turns and faces her nanny. Her eyes narrow ever so slightly. "Tell your stupid boyfriend that he's just a really bad maths teacher."
The pair of them just glare at her; each of them trying to make Clara back down and agree to their terms by shifting their eyes into an even more demonising stare. Clara can't help but let a smile dance across her lips as she tries to supress a giggle.
Part of her knows she should back up the Doctor, but most of her knows that if she doesn't back up Angie she'll never forget it. Besides, it'll be funny.
"Going to have to go with Angie on this one," Clara replies with a little grin that lights up her whole face. Angie grins in return.
"See!" the Doctor announces triumphantly. Then his face falls and his eyebrows furrow and his neck instantly flips round to face Clara again, "Wait- what?"
"If even your own girlfriend disagrees with you, you must be wrong." Angie points out smugly. She's never going to forget this.
The Doctor shakes his head, muttering. Slightly flustered. "She's not… Shut up."
Angie giggles. Angie one. Doctor nil.
Despite the taunting and the jibes, Clara Oswald can still tell that Angie Maitland definitely has a soft spot for the Doctor. It's a rule Clara has discovered with Angie; if she's horrible to you, it generally means she likes you. Unless she genuinely hates you. But, Clara can see, the way her eyes occasionally flicker up to look at him: she does like the Doctor. She approves of him.
Approval is always good.
They continue with the maths homework, Clara continues drinking her tea. It goes on like that for another half an hour: the Doctor frequently points out how horrible Angie is to help, but she can also tell how happy he is to be doing something helpful. He needs to keep busy otherwise he gets restless and fidgety. And when he gets restless and fidgety, he breaks things. She doesn't fancy having to shell out for a new vase or a whole set of crockery.
So far, in the past few hours, he'd helped her change the light bulb ('Really, Clara, it took you a whole hour to try and do that? All you need is to turn and screw, turn and screw, turn and screw…' 'Ooh, down boy!' '…Shut up!'), vacuum the whole house top to bottom, clean the windows, devour three whole packets of jammy dodgers between them as well as nip off to the supermarket. They had lunch with Angie (for some reason, when he'd suggested fish fingers and custard as their midday meal, Angie declined) then went on to assist her with her homework. They'd barely had a spare moment.
She quite likes this side to him. The side that's capable of doing normal humany things.
A key turns in the lock and there's a shuffle in the hallway, and in enter Mr Maitland and Artie. Artie's got a gold medal in his grip and the grin he's wearing signals he's just about the happiest person alive.
"Clara! I-"Artie pauses mid-sentence when he realises that there's a person he didn't expect sitting at the table next to his sister. His mouth forms into a little 'o' of surprise and he makes his medal even more visible. "Clara's boyfriend!"
(Neither of them are yet to correct him and say that actually he's not Clara's boyfriend at all, but the Doctor. Neither of them know why.)
"Hello Artie!" the Doctor announces, grinning as clearly the boy is still so in awe of him. It's rather endearing. He gets out of his chair next to Angie and ruffles his hair. "Let's have a look at this medal, then."
Artie glances over at Clara as if to ask permission to interact, like he belong to her. Clara just laughs and persists to drink her tea. The Doctor? Hers? What a weird way to think.
Artie presses his precious medal into his palm, and the Doctor eagerly takes a look at it. He holds it into the light streaming through the windows; the gold dancing across the back wall in beams.
"I didn't win," Artie admits, "But I did come third. The first and second place got a trophy but I liked the medal anyway. I did want to win, though."
"Well," the Doctor leans down so he's more on par with the eleven-year-old. He opens out his clenched hand with a smile, pressing the medal inside and closing his fingers around it. "You know what I think, Artie? I think that winning is overrated."
"Oh, yes, definitely," the Doctor agrees, "Because if you win over and over again, you begin to forget how it feels to lose. And losing keeps us going, Artie. Losing makes you improve and get better and better. If we always won, what would be the point in carrying on?"
He's speaking from experience, Clara can tell. And it breaks her. Just a little.
Artie doesn't completely understand but he's got so much admiration for the Doctor that he just nods and goes along with it like his word is gospel. It's Angie who sighs and rolls her eyes although secretly, she's in just as much awe of him than her kid brother.
"Angie, Clara-"Mr Maitland enters the kitchen, and he's surprised when he sees a man whom he doesn't recognise talking to his son. The Doctor looks up immediately with a grin. "Um…Hello?"
"Hello!" the Doctor announces, giving Artie a tap on the head before approaching his dad. He takes Mr Maitland's hand and shakes it vigorously for a few moments longer than necessary. "You must be Mr M! I'm the Doctor."
"Oh!" a look of realisation flickers through Mr Maitland's pupils as he looks over at Clara and back again. "So you're Clara's boyfriend!"
Clara sniggers, but the Doctor shifts awkwardly from side-to-side as his face turns a rather bright shade of red. "No. No! We're not…"
Mr Maitland merely laughs. "Angie and Artie have told me a lot about you. Clara, don't even think that I didn't realise, especially when it's a man who answers every time I seem to call."
Clara smiles awkwardly. "Uh…Yeah. Anyway, the Doctor's… House has appeared to-"
"Just a bit of electrical damage," the Doctor interjects swiftly.
"Yes, well," Clara shoots him a look which suggests he should refrain from further conversation, "As I was saying, the Doctor's house is in a bit of trouble so he was wondering if he could stay for a couple of days. Just until-"
"No longer than a couple of days."
"Yes! Fine!" Clara sighs exasperatedly, "Well, can he stay? Just for a couple of days. He'll make himself useful."
Artie grins. "Oh, please, dad! Let him stay!"
Mr Maitland is sceptical, but even he can't even seem to fail to trust this strange man with the contagious grin and the odd haircut and the bowtie, who both Clara and his two children have taken such a shine to.
"I'll sleep on the sofa," he offers, with a shrug, "I don't mind. Really."
Mr Maitland nods. How could he possibly say no? "Until your house is fixed, stay. Make yourself at home."
The Doctor grins and claps his hands, giving Clara a thumbs up. She gives him a thumbs up back.
It's going to a pretty eventful two or three days with a Time Lord living in the Maitland household.
She hears a rustling downstairs. She knows it's him.
"What are you doing?" she yawns, as she sees him pacing up and down the living room. He hasn't even touched the sofa- the sheet and the pillow still in their original position.
"I don't sleep," he replies, "Not much anyway. Just keeping myself busy."
"In need of some company?" she asks.
He really should say no, tell her to get back to her own bed- but he's so alone at night. He really is. "Yeah. Yes. If you don't mind."
"Not at all!" she grins sleepily. She wanders over to the sofa bed, clambers onto it, and he sits beside her. Her head lolls lazily onto his shoulder.
And he smiles; because who else would he rather spend a few days in a normal linear timeline other than Clara Oswald.
No-one. That's who.