He didn’t think she’d notice, but the Doctor had embraced her twice of his own volition since she’d come back to him after Christmas. Of course, to Clara, that seemed to show the Doctor’s growth. He really had missed her and needed her, and after he’d been so adamant before at not hugging her, the rule had suddenly gone away.
A new rule of engagement followed. He would only hold Clara’s hand. He would only touch Clara, and she could touch him in return. No one else. No passing acquaintance they’d just rescued, and certainly not a new friend they had saved who plainly, and most easily annoyed him. Just Clara.
Clara felt the change was a refreshing step forward in their relationship. She couldn’t deny him. She’d exposed so much of herself to him already, her feelings, her plans. She didn’t see herself in a future where the Doctor wasn’t by her side.
But how did the Doctor feel? How did this majestic mountain range that she’d fallen for feel about her? Could he ever tell her - now that things were changing. Not after the way he looked at her now.
So, of course, she wanted to push him further.
“I can’t believe you convinced me to come here,” the Doctor complained, snorting. They looked up at the starry skies under a large tree, which resembled a weeping willow as it umbrellaed them, but being alien in the way the leaves were shaped, as well as being naturally coated with a reflective purple surface. Clara was in awe of them, taking a fallen one in her hand and studying it, getting lost in her thoughts. She leaned up against the Doctor as they reclined on the glass against the tree. She was pushing boundaries again, and as usual with the Doctor lately, he didn’t protest her level of engagement.
He only protested that she agreed with the royalty of this planet to attend their gala after she and the Doctor had accidentally saved the Prime Minister’s daughter from a deadly kidnapping scheme. Well, the Doctor could never resist helping children, and he could care less about ransom money involved. He also wouldn’t ignore when his headstrong companion had almost died trying to save the Minister’s daughter, throwing herself into harm’s way without a care for her own well being - or how it would make him feel to almost losing her.
It was motivation enough for him to win, to save the daughter and of course, save Clara before she got herself killed.
He didn’t seem to mind getting attention for his heroics in the end either. A safe child and a safe Clara were important, but having strangers admire his cleverness and intelligence was part of the extra perks. Parties and music and overly happy people had just come with the attention, for which had become too much for him at that point. So, during the last dances of the gala, Clara and the Doctor snuck out into the garden grounds to get away from the people so the Doctor could relax.
“Look at all the good we did,” Clara finally responded to him. “A little girl is reunited with her parents. We had some good food, a little dancing.”
The Doctor had scoffed.
“So, we can go now,” he said, but Clara noticed he wasn’t really budging from his spot.
“I’m not ready yet. I’m enjoying the company and the moonlight. Wow, what a big moon. And really pink,” she said.
“Very well,” he said, trying to sound annoyed they were saving. Then, his voice tapered off with a restful tone. He sighed. “Just a little bit longer.”
Clara looped her arm around his and snuggled closer. She felt him exhale another contented sigh. She wished they could just stay like this - lying in the cool grass alone under a permanent moon sky. She wished she could still time a little bit longer for these rare occasions where they had the world to themselves. All of time and space, no wars, no deaths, no complicated puzzles to solve.
But eventually, she knew they’d both get bored. They both needed the thrill. It was definitely an addiction. Still, it was nice to have these moments where they could just enjoy each other.
“I can hear you thinking,” he said. “It’s very noisy.”
“Okay, what am I thinking?” She looked up into his eyes. In the moonlight, she could tell he was staring straight back at her, studying her and pausing to filter the right words out of the wrong ones. Clara would rather hear the wrong ones.
“You like the quiet but you’re going to get bored,” he said simply.
“Oh, is that all?” she laughed again. She placed a hand on his chest, and without thinking, she caressed his velvet coat up and down. The fabric felt smooth and sensual against her palm.
“I’m sure it’s not, but that’s all I could get from you,” he said, clearing his throat a bit.
“That’s all you want to know,” Clara said cryptically. “Or want to say aloud,” she teased.
He cleared his throat again. “Some things don’t need to be said, Clara,” he said in a lighter tone, and she felt his fingers on top of her head, patting her hair. “You know everything about me already.”
She nodded slightly and settled closer onto his chest. “Not everything. Just because I jumped into your timeline doesn’t mean I remember everything. Plus, the you now is a whole new territory.”
“Yes,” he said, sounding a little perturbed she was pushing him a little. “But you still know enough.”
“I wonder,” Clara said, and she reached up and took his hand off her head and held it into hers, resting against his chest. The contact sent a rush through her body as he squeezed her hand, acknowledging her feelings. The Doctor was, as usual, not about words. He was about actions.
She wondered what other actions she could get out of him to replace his words - his feelings. Shifting her body, she leaned up and braved a light kiss on the corner of his mouth. He stilled against her, but she could feel him staring at her even through the dark as a cloud covered the moon.
His hand fell out of hers and was on her cheek, resting. “You don’t have to wonder. That’s what I’m telling you.”
“Yeah, well, where’s the fun in that?” she said, and she pushed even further, covering his mouth with hers. Somewhere in her forwardness, she felt him kiss back, and then, completely open up to her. When he stilled rigidly at the heat that was building between them, she pulled away. She felt his mild hesitation, knowing full well he was having a war in his head on the appropriateness of this gesture, and wondering if they should move forward.
Feeling that she had pushed him enough for one day, Clara settled back down on his chest and sighed. “I suppose you’re right. I do know you very well.”
He said nothing, but he’d taken her hand into his again against his chest.
Twice he had held her hand of his own volition, and it was only a matter of time where she could get him to kiss her of his own choice, as well.
Until then, snuggling under this moonlight sky, feeling thoughts louder than words, knowing things that never needed saying, that was enough. For now.
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