"The Ambassador's receptions are noted in society for their host's exquisite taste that captivates his guests," said the Doctor, smiling. He looked sideways at Clara, apparently expecting a response of some kind.
“Don't you remember that advert?” He seemed so very disappointed. “How old are you anyway?”
“I'm old enough to drink,” she said, picking up a glass of something clear from a nearby table. “Is this safe?”
“Probably.” He shrugged. “Worst that can happen is that you die and... oh, wait, you don't regenerate, do you?”
“Pretty sure I don't,” said Clara, sniffing the drink suspiciously.
The Doctor shrugged again. “Most of the people here are human or related to humans, you should be fine.”
“Thanks,” said Clara, risking a sip of what turned out to be — or at least what tasted like — lemonade. “So,” she said, “which ambassador are we talking about?”
“The first Martian Ambassador to Earth. This is quite the historic occasion.”
“Wait, Martian? You mean an Ice Warrior?”
The Doctor glanced about quickly and then, lowering his voice, said, “I wouldn't use that term if I were you. It's considered quite offensive. Where did a polite girl like you get words like those?”
“From you,” she said, a bit annoyed.
“There's no need to lie,” he told her.
“I'm not lying. Russian submarine, the old you, Ice Warrior.”
“Shh!” He put his hand over her mouth. “Keep talking like that and you'll start a diplomatic incident!”
Clara pushed his hand away. “Okay, fine, Martian. But you're the one who called them... the other thing.”
“I most certainly did not.”
“You most certainly did.”
The Doctor scowled at her. “You're probably just confused. Human memories are terrible, I don't know how you cope.”
Clara didn't want to dignify that with a verbal response, so she just glared at him and took another drink of possibly-lemonade.
“I want to have a word with the Ambassador,” said the Doctor, “you should probably mingle for a bit, see if you become a bit more cosmopolitan by osmosis.” He seemed to catch sight of something on the other side of the room, and then he spun Clara around away from whatever it was.
“What?” she asked, trying to see what he was hiding from her.
“Alpha Centauri is here. I don't want you saying anything insulting about its appearance.”
Clara managed to get a glimpse of what looked like a giant green penis with a huge eye on the end. She was pretty sure that had to be Alpha Centauri.
The Doctor fixed her with a warning glare. “Don't. Say. Anything.”
“I won't,” she said. “Do you think I was raised by wolves?” She tried to look dignified. “It does look a bit... odd, but who knows what I look like to it?”
“I know,” said the Doctor, “but I'm not telling you in case you get offended.”
“Okay, whatever, go and talk to your Martian.” Clara turned away from him and placed her empty glass on a nearby table.
She was cosmopolitan, damn him. She didn't show any trace of surprise at any of the guests, and she certainly didn't say anything to offend anyone. She was doing quite well at mingling, actually, and she had a plate of little cube things that tasted really nice.
The Doctor appeared at her side and plucked the plate from her hands. “I wouldn't eat those if I were you.”
“Why?” asked Clara with her mouth full. “Are they poisonous?”
“They're an aphrodisiac.”
Clara swallowed. “Don't worry, Doctor, I tried oysters once and they didn't do a thing.”
“How many have you had?”
“Maybe... a dozen?” She saw his expression. “I'm not a pig! They were just really, really nice and I didn't have any breakfast.”
“Can't take you anywhere, can I?” he said with a sigh. “Don't worry, it shouldn't last more than a few hours. I'll give you a sedative and you can sleep it off.”
“Sleep what off?” she asked.
“The overwhelming sexual urges.” He put a hand on her forehead. “You're temperature's a bit high, we'd better get you back to the TARDIS.” He took hold of her arm and started leading her away from the party.
“Doctor, I'm fine,” Clara protested, trying to shake him off.
“For now, maybe.”
“You're not even a real doctor,” she said, somewhat spitefully.
“But I do have experience with food-poisoning of this sort. Donna was so embarrassed, but you know-”
“Who's Donna?” Clara stopped trying to break his hold on her arm, because actually the contact felt quite good. She looked up at the Doctor, admiring how handsome he looked in this light.
“Stop thinking about sex,” he said.
“I knew it was a mistake to park the TARDIS so far away,” he said, presumably to himself, as he led her out of the building.
“I was having a really good time at that reception,” she said sulkily. “Why do you have to ruin things?”
“Clara, you're not yourself.”
“I'm very myself.”
The Doctor stopped suddenly. “I refuse to take the blame for this. You're the one who ate a plate of alien food without asking if it was dangerous.”
He was so attractive when he was annoyed. Clara touched his hand where it gripped her arm, slowly stroking his skin.
The Doctor looked down at his hand and hers. “Why are you doing that?”
“Not because I've been poisoned, if that's what you're implying.”
“Well, you've never done it before.” He started walking again, pulling her along at a faster pace this time.
“I like you,” she said. “I like you a lot.”
“I'm sure you do,” he said, “I'm equally sure that you're a ball of raging hormones right now and you'd probably feel the same way about a Dalek if it was touching you.”
“No,” said Clara,“I really fancy you.” She was dimly aware that she'd promised herself that she'd never say that out loud, but that didn't seem very important right now. “You you, I mean. I fancied the other you, obviously.”
“I thought I didn't like you at first, but now I think you're really sexy. I think it's the accent.”
“Do you want me to do a different accent? I could probably manage Welsh.” He sounded irritated, but he sounded like that a good percentage of the time anyway. Clara thought it was actually quite sexy.
“Clara, please stop talking. You'll feel awful about it when you've recovered.”
“I don't need to recover,” she insisted. “There's nothing wrong with me.”
They reached the TARDIS and the Doctor let go of her arm to locate the key in his pockets. Clara heard herself make a sad little pining noise, and she reached for his hand without thinking.
He dodged away from her, unlocked the ship, and pushed her through the doors. “Right,” he said, “sedative.”
“I'm not taking any space drugs,” said Clara.
“It's just to help you sleep,” he said, crossing the room and opening a cupboard set against the wall.
“I don't want to sleep!” she protested.
“Clara, please, for once in your life do as you're told.” He returned to her with a glass of water and a small pink pill which he placed in her hand. “Take this.”
Clara decided to take it just to shut him up. She swallowed the pill with a mouthful of water and then said, “Happy now?”
“Ecstatic,” he said flatly. “Now, off you go to your room and have a rest.”
“Come with me,” she said, tugging on his sleeve.
“I don't think that's a very good idea, all things considered.”
“Do you fancy me?” she asked, fluttering her eyelashes at him.
“Of course not.”
“Then there's nothing to worry about, is there?” She moved closer, leaning into the space between them.
The Doctor moved quickly and she found herself being held away at arm's length. She glared at him.
“See?” he asked. “You can barely control yourself.”
“I'll go to my room,” she said, “but you have to come with me.”
“Because I say so.”
He looked at her for a long moment and then nodded. “Fine, but no funny business.”
Clara turned onto her side to look at the Doctor, standing in front the bookcase in her bedroom. “Don't you fancy me?” she asked.
“Please, go to sleep.” He picked out a book and moved to sit in the old green armchair by her bed. “I'll be here when you wake up, if that makes you feel any better.”
“You could sleep too,” she offered, “there's plenty of room in this bed.”
“I have this lovely armchair,” he said. “And I'm allergic to beds.”
“Bollocks,” said Clara. “You're just afraid that I'll seduce you.”
“You won't. I'm a Time Lord.”
Clara stared at him. “So? What does that even mean? Are they all impotent?”
“It means that we're semi-telepathic time-sensitives, we have to learn to control our minds and bodies at an early age.” He opened his book. “Now be quiet, I want to read.”
She moved onto her back, staring up at the ceiling thoughtfully. Why didn't he want her? What was she doing wrong? “Are you a virgin?” she asked, in case that was the problem.
“Clara, I'm two thousand years old. You think I wouldn't have done it by now just to see what it was like?”
“I mean this you. This regeneration.”
“That's a very personal question.”
She turned her head to look at him. “Are you saving yourself for someone special?”
“No,” he said. “If you must know I did it quite some time ago.”
Clara considered this, trying to work out who the unknown deflowerer could be. A horrible thought stuck her. “Please tell me you didn't have sex with Missy.”
“I didn't have sex with Missy,” he said. “It wasn't anyone you know.”
“I told you, it wasn't anyone you know.”
Clara yawned. “Can we have sex?” she asked, because the direct approach might work.
She closed her eyes. “I've thought about it a lot, I bet it would be really good. I bet you've got a really big-”
“Clara, stop talking and go to sleep.”
He might have said something after that, but she was half-asleep already and she didn't hear it if he did.
Clara woke from a graphic dream about the Doctor, and she was fully intending to lie there for a while appreciating it when she remembered what had happened the night before. “Oh my God,” she said.
The Doctor snapped his book closed as she sat up.“Nothing happened,” he said.
“All those things I told you.” She closed her eyes again. “I can't look at you, you know too much.”
“Clara, it's fine, it's all forgotten.”
“I'm going to be sick,” she declared.
“You'll be fine. Just try not to think about it.”
She opened her eyes and turned to look at him. “How can I not think about it? I made a complete fool of myself.”
The Doctor shrugged. “You've said and done plenty of stupid things, I've never held them against you.”
“Thanks,” she said, sarcastically, “that's really helpful.”
“You were under the influence of an alien aphrodisiac, it's not like you really wanted to have sex with me.”
Clara felt herself start to blush and tried to fight it. “Of course not. The thought never crossed my mind before,” she lied.
The Doctor nodded and stood up. “Good, I'm glad you're being sensible about it. Do you want some breakfast?”
“I wouldn't say no. To breakfast,” she added, in case he got the wrong idea.
“Right, I'll go crack some eggs,” he said, heading for the door.
Clara watched him leave and then flopped back down onto her bed. She was never going to live this down, never. She wallowed in her own misery for a while until a shout from the kitchen, followed by a loud bang and then the sound of a fire alarm, moved her to get out of bed. She pulled herself together as best she could, took a deep breath, and went to see what sort of trouble the Doctor had got himself into this time.