A/N so I was thinking about all you wonderful readers and this story. And I had a realisation. I can do whatever I like with the Doctor and Clara. Whatever I like. Anything. I could make them get together officially. I could make them get married for god's sake (though I'm not going to, doesn't seem to fit with the characters). I could traumatise one or both. I could rip them apart in the most violent and depressing way imaginable. I could kill Clara off and have the Doctor cry despairingly over her body as all his thousand years lose their meaning. (Calm down calm down- it's not going to happen!)
And I felt so powerful.
And then I realized something else. This is how Moffat feels. I FINALLY UNDERSTAND.
Moving on, I am going away on holidays for the next week or so, so no updates for that time sorry. I wrote this up as quick as I could to give you one last chapter before I go.
As always, huge thank you to the reviewers. YOU ARE ALL AMAZING! ASDFGHJKL GOD YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE I LOVE YOU LIKE THE DOCTOR LOVES CLARA EXCEPT NO NOT REALLY I JUST WANT TO BE FRIENDS AND THE DOCTOR AND CLARA ARE DEFINITELY NOT FRIENDS.
Okay yeah anyway enjoy the chapter.
Pulling on Artie's arm, Angie threaded through the crowd into the foyer. Standing on her toes to peer over the jumble of people, she failed to spot the familiar faces of the Doctor and Clara.
"Come on." she said to Artie, who was still looking forlorn in the aftermath of Dobby's death. "We have to find them."
But though she searched every corner of the foyer, waited til most everyone had vacated it and it would have been impossible not to spot them, they were not there.
Angie sighed. "Hopefully this means that our plan worked a little too well."
"So, what do we do?" her brother's voice was small and worried.
"We look for them. Come on." she went outside onto the footpath, dragging Artie behind, both of them blinking in the sudden daylight. "Where would they have gone?"
"We could try the forest." Artie suggested quietly. "Clara always loves going there in autumn."
"Wow, Artie, I am shocked. A legitimate, intelligent suggestion."
Angie smirked. "Let's go."
They walked quickly through the streets, Angie rolling her eyes at Artie's skittishness.
Soon they came to the park, which backed onto the forest spreading across the eastern side of town. They stopped before the trees, flaming with golden leaves.
Bordering the path before them, that twisted into the woods, were a few trees that merged into the main forest. Snagged on one of the branches was a dark purple thread.
Angie laughed. "Artie! Our plan worked!" And she grabbed his arm and they ran into the woods.
Clara had always loved the forest. It was a small section of land the council had put aside as a sort of sanctuary for local flora and fauna, but she always thought of it as a sanctuary for her, too.
Autumn was her favourite time of the year, when a chill forever bit at your toes and rain would clear away the groggy summer air until the atmosphere was crisp with the scent of winter. The leaves would turn golden, and then crinkle into fiery red, before falling from the trees in scatters of warm brown. It reminded her of her mother, too, this season. She had loved autumn as well, and whenever a leaf drifted to the ground before her she always thought of how she and her father had met. How she came to be. That leaf. The most important leaf in the universe.
She couldn't say exactly why she took the Doctor to the woods. Maybe it was because of this sentimental value, maybe it was because he was always showing her beautiful things and now she wanted to show him her own beautiful place, or maybe it was because she just wanted somewhere quiet to be with him. Whatever the reason, now they were both treading along the dirt path, their footsteps crinkling with the fallen leaves. The sun shone through the gaps in the trees above, glinting down in golden shafts of light. Birds sung their echoing songs to the cold air. It was beautiful.
And she thought the Doctor thought so too.
The innocently happy smile that curled up his lips and the glint that shone in his old, dark eyes seemed to warm the very atmosphere. She couldn't believe how such a sad, ancient man could be so purely joyful. It reminded her of a saying she had once heard, she thought she remembered her father saying it: "The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do."
This man was the loneliest, saddest, most damaged person she had ever met. But then he was also the kindest, wisest and had the brightest smile.
She still could not believe the happenings of the past few hours with him. She had yelled at him, argued with him, heard him spill his deepest thoughts and secrets, hugged him, laughed at him, and... kissed him. Yes. There was that, too. And that was the tricky bit.
She had sworn to herself. She had made a promise. Don't fall in love. Don't fall in love. And she had succeeded in that respect, at least for a while. But then she had shouted all the troubled thoughts of her mind at him, all the reasons for her not to fall in love. Asked him why.
And today he had answered her. Today she had broken her promise.
But she didn't care.
So when they stopped before a towering oak tree, Clara smiled as the Doctor took her hand. She leaned toward him a little, as he rested his head on top of hers. She was still gazing up through the leaves at the top of the oak when he settled his arm around her shoulders, but she could see him looking at her out of the corner of her eye.
So she simply enjoyed the comforting feel of his arm over her shoulders, and reveled in the warm glow emanated by his happiness.
It was times like this that she really loved. When she could manage to make that sad, old man actually smile.
No matter what he did, the Doctor could not lessen the goofy smile on his face. Nor did he particularly want to, it had been a long long time since he had felt this level of happiness. It was nice to feel it again.
So he watched Clara watching the whispering autumn leaves, thinking about how a braver man would kiss her right now. But in this situation, the Doctor was not that braver man.
He heard a strange rustle in the trees, something unnatural. But it couldn't be anything, could it? And he really didn't want to move from Clara's side right now. In fact he though he could probably stay like this for hours on end.
The Doctor and Clara jumped apart, spinning around to face Angie and Artie at the edge of the clearing.
"Clara and the Doctor, sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G!" Artie chorused.
"What, no, I, we-" the Doctor stammered
"Oh shut up, Doctor. You aren't-" Clara began.
"FIRST COMES LOVE. THEN COME MARRIAGE. THEN COMES-"
Artie smiled. "Yes, Clara?"
The Doctor nudged Clara, whispering, "Not much better than me, are you?"
"Oh shut up! Both of you! Oh let's just go home." she snapped before heading back down the path with Artie skipping along behind.
The Doctor followed through the trees, still unable to wipe the smile off his face.
He heard a laugh as Angie popped up beside him. "Don't even try to deny it anymore. It's so obvious it's hilarious!" she told him.
"Sorry, what's obvious?" he tried to play the ignorance card.
"Oh don't play dumb. Just kiss her already!" Angie laughed before running ahead to where Artie was, leaving the Doctor to the trees and his thoughts.
The leaves whispered in the slight wind, talking in a language unknown to all but their own. But they seemed to be trying to say something to him.
He nodded to himself, and whispered to the shivering trees, "If I were a braver man."
A/N I apologize profusely for any little mistakes in this. I haven't checked it properly and I just wanted to get it out before I leave. Hope you liked it and don't forget to review please! See you in a week everyone!