Clara Oswald entered the TARDIS with a tired sigh. She pushed open the door, slid inside without a greeting and walked on numb feet toward the first soft thing she saw: a black velvet sofa, which hadn’t been in the control room before, but she wasn’t surprised. (The Doctor was still adding and subtracting things from his control room, so maybe the items were changing to fit the purpose, whatever that was at whenever time.)
She collapsed onto the soft cushions with a heavy sigh, pulled a book from sticking into her back, and stared up at the ceiling of slate gray metals and blinking lights. Her muscles and nerves ached from a rough day at school, and she was spent from keeping her students in line; even drinks with Danny didn’t seem appealing to her right now.
Her eyes threatened to close from exhaustion, but a niggling scratching sound prevented her slumber.
The Doctor was scribbling away on his chalkboard, and though he probably, most definitely, noticed her arrival, he made a point to ignore her - or at least act like he was too preoccupied by something more important on his blackboard than to say anything to her.
“Hello, what have you got on your mind this time, Doctor?” Clara yelled at him. He was scribbling about on the other side of the console room, and he made a noise of acknowledgement before mumbling something at her.
“Your family timeline, from Orson Pink to you,” the Doctor said.
“Eh!” Clara said, suddenly not so exhausted as before and feeling instantly cross that he’d meddle in her future when she specifically told him not to. “I said no, Doctor, really I don’t want to know! You’re as bad as Strax. Wait, you’re worse, you Timelord…” she rambled, and she looked up at him and made her way across the room.
When she came to his side, she looked at his chalkboard and only saw scribbling that had nothing to do with her or Orson, or any of the Pinks.
She felt relieved, but also confused. Still cross too. She furrowed her brow at him.
He turned to her, containing his excitement at her reaction in his stoic frame. He grinned at her, and she took notice of the ancient lines that formed, wrinkles of wisdom and mischief. “Got you off that couch, didn’t I? No napping in the TARDIS, at least, not now. We have too many important things to do.”
Clara didn’t appreciate the fatherly tone again. She scowled. “What are you doing, then?”
He waved his hands about, long, kinetic fingers that could create their own language. “Research, notes and clues - scribbles on The Promised Land. I’m trying to cross-reference legends, myths and belief systems with all alien life forms that I know, of course, see if there’s any similarity.”
“Anything?” Clara asked curiously, becoming rather invigorated that he was pursuing this instead of writing it off as another random superstition.
“No. Lots of loose ends. Some connections, but nothing catching anything as of yet,” he said, now nibbling on his fingernails. She noticed this was a new trait of his, new in the sense to this body.
“Well, I’m sure that we’ll find something. Danger seems to stalk us,” Clara said, and the Doctor turned to her with fierce eyes. He pointed, as if she was onto something - or at least on the same path as his own wild thoughts.
“That’s why it’s vital you get your energy back, Clara. We have important things to do,” he said with that deep Scottish lilt. “First, we figure out more about the woman who wants to keep us together.”
“The woman in the shop?” she suggested, and he nodded. “She wasn’t who you thought she was, now was she?”
Clara instantly saw sadness color his expression. “No,” he said simply, and instantly, the emotion was erased away - as easily as his chalk drawings.
“Then that means…”
“We draw her out,” he said. “You and I, Clara, are going to offer ourselves as bait…”
“To what?” she asked, sounding suddenly horrified.
“To...whatever forces are trying to keep us together. To those who seek The Promised Land,” the Doctor said, beaming with his own brilliance. He stored the chalk away in the inner red lining pocket of his coat and set off for the console, preparing the TARDIS for their next destination.
Clara looked at him warily, “Doctor…”
“Mmmm?” he said, not looking at her directly.
“I think I’m going to take that nap now,” Clara said, and he stopped, met her eyes, and she knew he was going to make some remark that was probably going to set her off.
“Long night? Another date?” he said, fulfilling all her assumptions about his attitude.
She pursed her lips and held back all the barbs she wanted to throw at him. She pointed at him. “Just remember, Doctor, hobby…” she stressed.
“Come on then, Clara, I need you in top shape for your hobby,” he said, and before he’d even given her his blessing, she’s found a cozy spot on his sofa. Her temper faded away, and the noises and movement of the TARDIS cooled her fears. She gave into the exhaustion of her day, and she felt safe with the Doctor close to her, piloting his TARDIS.
She let out another content sigh, and the hum of the TARDIS seemed to assure her she needn't worry about her dark dreams.
Clara was well cared for, and with the Doctor by her side, even the perils that surely awaited them in the future wouldn’t drive her away.