by nostalgia [Reviews - 2]

  • Teen
  • None
  • Het

The dress comes with instructions. Clara smiles when she sees the note on the pile of clothes, the careful little diagram of what goes on how and in what order. The smile becomes a quick laugh when she turns the note over — apparently knickers weren't invented yet and she can provide her own if that makes her uncomfortable. From the haste in the handwriting it certainly makes him uncomfortable, which seems all the more reason to go native.

The robe à la française is the Doctor's answer to her request for a chance to dress up. Clara had been thinking more along the line of a modern ball-gown, but when she holds the dress up to get a good look at it she decides that, yeah, it might be fun.

She rolls on the stockings as though she had an audience, and then pulls the chemise over her head. The Doctor's collection of women's clothing is impressive and begs a lot of questions. She knows she's not the first, but the wardrobe has to many dresses from so many eras that she has to wonder just how long he's been dragging innocent young women into time and space.

The next bit she'll need help for, so she opens the door of her bedroom and finds the Doctor waiting outside. He apparently isn't going to wear the local clothing, he's just in his usual too casual to be dressy and too dressy to be casual clothes.

Clara nods him into the room and says “How did people manage this on their own?”

“You're supposed to have maids,” he replies, picking up a book from her dressing-table and casually re-shelving it like he doesn't care what she does to her room. It's really his room, of course, everything here is his.

“What if you can't afford maids?”

“If you can afford this dress, you can afford maids,” he tells her.

“I thought you didn't approve of money,” she says. “Do you steal clothes?”

“Sometimes,” he says with a nod. “But the dress... it's a long story and it involves a chicken-related debt that I really should get round to sorting out one of these days.”

Clara accepts this the way she accepts the Doctor's more ridiculous statements. She works the corset-looking thing onto her body and turns her back to him. “Lace me up?”

With his hands on her hips he moves her in front of the full-length mirror in the corner and starts working on the ties at the back. Clara instinctively breathes in as he tightens the laces down her back, finding a new height as her posture changes. The mirror shows the changes to her shape, the way she's being accentuated and altered. She hopes the Doctor notices as well.

And then the dress. It's light-blue, covered in pearls and tiny gemstones and it probably could buy a small country somewhere. The Doctor moves around her, tucking and pinning like an expert and, who knows, maybe he is. When he nears her breasts he moves more quickly, as though eager to get away from danger. Clara smiles to herself.


“It's just,” she lies, “I feel like Marie-Antoinette.”

“She lost her head,” the Doctor reminds her.

“Okay, maybe not her. Madame du Pompadour?”

The Doctor freezes for an instant as though she's said something wrong, then moves round to her back, angled so that she can't see his face in the mirror. Clara knows by now that there's no point asking what she did. She stepped on an eggshell and now she has to distract him.

“Do I have to wear a wig?” she asks.

“Not if you don't want to. Frankly the fact that you've washed it in the past month means you'll have the nicest hair in the city.” He makes a face, smiles, and whatever Clara did wrong is forgotten.

“No wonder the past stinks.”

“Whereas the twenty-first century smells of flowers and rainbows,” he says mildly. He finishes his work but he stays standing behind her, looking at her in the mirror. “You don't look too bad,” he tells her.

Which means, if Clara understands him as well as she thinks, that she looks amazing and he's trying not to think about sex. She smiles to herself and winks at him in the mirror, making him look away quickly. Her smile fades and her happiness is replaced with frustration. She wonders what the hell's wrong with him, that he won't take what's being pretty clearly offered. She makes a fist with one hand and counts slowly to ten.

The Doctor's in the doorway when she calms down again. He's moving from foot-to-foot, impatient. “Are you coming or not?”

“Promise I won't be decapitated?”

“Cross my hearts.”

She steps into the corridor, taking his arm with a grip that won't be broken. “Lead on,” she says, putting a smile on her face and hoping it'll reach her eyes eventually.