None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.

Thomas Carlyle

Sometimes she heard whispers. Sometimes, when all was quiet and she was supposed to be asleep, the voice would come. Barely there in the back of her mind, it told her things she wasn't supposed to know, things she could barely understand. It whispered of a world so completely alien to her own that at first she was convinced it was an emissary from the deepest pit of hell. Only the voice was so familiar, and the quiet sigh that preceded it made her chest ache the way it did when one of the children was hurt or afraid. It was only as she got older that she stopped trying to convince herself it was the devil or simply her going mad, and allowed her natural curiosity to take over.

Sometimes she found herself marveling over the most ordinary of things. Sometimes her fingers would still on the mug she was wiping, and she would think with bemusement that it was made of metal, they were all made of metal. Then, of course, she would shake her head at her silliness and wonder what other material should they be made of? When she walked the streets of London, she would occasionally feel a sense of childish wonder steal over her, and she would stare around at the men in their top hats and the women in their petticoats with a grin on her face, like she hadn't seen such things every day of her life. Many people had asked her how she maintained her happy outlook. She honestly didn't know how to answer them.

Sometimes she woke in the middle of the night, soaked in sweat, gasping for breath, her own hand over her mouth to smother the inevitable cry. Sometimes she jumped out of bed and stubbed her toe on the table that had been by her bed for as long as she remembered. She would whirl around in confusion, unable to recognize a single thing around her. She'd fall to the floor more often than not, panic filling her. Some part of her understood, but at those moments the voice filled her head with a dreadful sobbing and she could only think one thing, one phrase that would sometimes force its way past her lips on a choked gasp. I don't know where I am.

Sometimes the whisper in her mind would become strident, demanding. Sometimes she wasn't able to tell whether she or the voice had told her body to move, her feet to walk, her hands to grasp. She couldn't remember applying to become governess to the Latimer children, couldn't imagine what had possessed her to even try. She was even more surprised to find that she was good at it. When Mac asked her to tend at the Rose and Crown while Elsie was away, she fully intended to tell him that she couldn't make it. But somehow she found herself walking away from him, having agreed to work for two weeks. And two weeks later, the never-ending sigh blew her out the back door of the bar with a tray of mugs in her hands.

Sometimes the soft susurration became an all-consuming shout. Sometimes she would freeze in her tracks as instructions were blared in her mind: go back, stop there, talk to him. When the snowman appeared and a man walked by a moment later, the volume reached an all time high. It's him! She hadn't known what it meant by that, but at the same time she had. When she talked to him, she was overcome by a sense of familiarity, a sense of rightness so strong that the voice barely had to tell her to run after him. As the day wore on, the feeling only grew, as if she had known this man, this Doctor, in another life. He pressed a key into her palm with an infectious smile, and she knew this was where she was meant to be.

Every time she was in trouble, the voice was there, murmuring the solution in her ear. Every time her curiosity got her in another sticky situation, she could rely on the ever present whisper to get her out of it. So when the ice woman pulled her backwards off the Doctor's cloud and nothing rose in her mind, she was filled with an insane confidence that she'd make it through the fall. When she felt the horrible impact through her body, the complete and utter sense of betrayal and abandonment stopped her breath with panic, even before the light snuffed out behind her eyes. Waking later to the concerned faces of Jenny, Strax, and Vastra, she wondered at their apparent ability to raise the dead, another amazing thing in a day filled with dark miracles. Life had returned to her, but the voice did not.

The only time the voice was quiet was when she didn't need it, when everything was normal. The only time she truly felt she needed its presence, simply for the comfort of not being alone, was as she lay on that bed, each breath a small victory against the specter of death, and the whisper just wasn't there. But then her Doctor came to her, and the voice came with him. He gripped her hand and tried to convince her that she would live to travel the stars with him, tears filling his ancient eyes as he promised to save the world for her. After the defeat of the Great Intelligence, knowing that her own battle was ending, the Doctor swore not to return to his solitude, as the whisper soothed her and told her the story of her existence, what she had done for the universe. As a final soft sigh fell from her lips, the corners twitched upwards ever so slightly. Now she recognized the voice: her, it had always been her. Understanding dawned and peace and contentment rolled over her, the feeling of a joyous task completed.

For she was Clara Oswin Oswald, and she had been born to save the Doctor.

Long A/N
My first foray into Doctor Who fanfic, and probably my last, given my inability to stick to a fandom. This was kind of an experiment, I broke all my rules about repetitiveness. Hopefully it doesn't bother anyone, but I thought it drove home the point that she was just an echo, though probably the most important one. So what is the voice? Is it real Clara, somehow communicating with her dupes from her place trapped in the Doctor's timeline? Is it just memories and maybe a sense of the flow of time imparted through the duplication process (whatever that is), that 19th century Clara ascribes to a separate entity due to her inability to understand it? Or something else? Don't ask me, I'll just say timey-wimey stuff and leave it at that. :P I guess I'm leaving that one up to you guys. I was having some serious issues with tense and I think I suffer from comma addiction, so if you guys see anything like that, please feel free to point it out. Otherwise just let me know what you think! :) Oh, I also kind of made it a point to not read any fanfic with either Clara in it before I wrote this, so if this idea has already been done, I'm sorry for the coincidental plagiarism. As always I apologize for any cultural mistakes, as I am a 21st century American girl and the amount of stuff I know about 19th century England could fill a teacup. :(