The Substitute Teacher

by Dancingsalome [Reviews - 1]

  • Teen
  • None
  • Fluff, Het, Humor, Standalone

Author's Notes:
I wrote this as a treat for Chocolate Boc and Vampirepaladin who wanted Fifth Doctor/Clara. I don't ship the Doctor much, but I found I liked the idea of this pairing. Five is so sweet- who wouldn't like him and I think he would feel attracted to Clara's sunny and somewhat bossy nature.

As for personal timelines, this fic takes place between season 8 and 9 for Clara and between Resurrection of the Daleks and Planet of Fire for Five.

Clara first noticed the new substitute teacher outside the gates of Coal Hill School where he was arguing with a student. Only, Clara noticed when she came closer, it wasn’t a student at all, but a red-headed young man. Oddly enough he was dressed in an outdated school uniform. Perhaps it was some kind of fashion statement.

“I can’t believe this is your idea of relaxing and having fun,” he was saying petulantly to the other young man, who was good-looking in a blond and somewhat vague way. “Getting stuck in a school of your own free will?”

“But it is fun,“ the blond man said. “At least for me. You don’t have to come with me, you know. Go and do something else and I’ll pick you up later.”

“And what am I’m supposed to do?”

“I don’t know. Fishing perhaps?”

“Fishing!” the red-haired man said with utter contempt. “I want to go somewhere else than this miserable rainy country. I had enough of it the last time. I want to go somewhere warm.”

“All right, all right. You let me do this now and then you can pick the next spot. Deal?”

The other man shrugged and allowed a grudging “Fine!”

He walked away in a huff and the blond man held up the door for Clara who had just reached him.

“Trouble in paradise?” she smiled at him.


“Your boyfriend seemed to be in a bit of a mood.”

The blond man looked at her with some surprise. “My boyfriend? Oh, him. That was just Turlough. He’s more of an ordinary cohabiting friend, really.”

“Sorry,” Clara said and then narrowed her eyes and looked closer at him. He looked awfully familiar to her, but she couldn’t place him. “Do I know you? Have you been here before?”

“A long time ago,” the blond man said and held out his hand. “John Smith. I’m to substitute for Mrs. Green for a few weeks. And I’m almost sure I would remember if I had met you.”

“Clara. Clara Oswald.“ Clara said and received a cool, firm handshake. He gave her a friendly smile, and she smiled back at him. Somehow it felt like she already knew him and as they entered the school together she chatted with him as if he was an old friend.

Over the next few weeks Clara often found him eating lunch or having coffee at the same times as she did. John seemed to like her company, and she knew she enjoyed his. He could be irritatingly bland at times and a bit shy, but when it was just the two of them he was often very funny and furthermore, he seemed to understand her. She found herself talking about Danny, and though he didn’t talk much about his own life, she got a strong feeling he had his own losses to grieve over.

His last day at Coal Hill Clara dragged him to a pub after work. He was going away the day after, on a vacation with that roommate of his. And he wouldn't come back after, apparently he had just stayed here this long to take this stint substituting. Clara who had grown to enjoy his company felt a bit sorry to see him go, but a bit relieved too. If he stuck around she thought she would be in danger of caring more for him that she already did and she had no need for someone special in her life again. Not now, not ever, as far as she was concerned. But still, he made her feel so good, he was attractive and funny, so she didn’t protest when he insisted on following her home. As the walked she sneaked glances at him. When he wasn’t chatting amiably he was prone to stare dreamily in the distance and Clara did some thinking of her own. When they had reached her home, she had also reached a decision. Instead of opening her door and say good night, she stood on her tiptoes and kissed him. John took a surprised step back and then caught her as she almost toppled over. Then his arms closed around her and he kissed her properly before releasing her. He glanced down at her, looking a bit worried.

“Do you really want this, Clara? You know I’ll be gone soon.”

Clara placed her hands on his shoulders, gazing up at him. “John, I like you. I really, really do. But I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t know it was just for tonight. I don’t want anything permanent, but I would very much like it if you stayed the night with me. Please.”

He smiled and kissed her again. “Very well, just this once.”

To her pleased surprise he lost his vagueness with his clothes and became very agreeably forceful instead. It was, Clara thought later, among the best sex she had ever had. She snuggled up against him and had almost fallen asleep when a familiar groan-and-swish sound could be heard from her living room. She was instantly wide awake and John sat up abruptly.

“What is that?”

“That?” Clara laughed, sounding a bit nervous. “That’s just the plumbing. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? But I’ll fix it. Just a minute. No, I don’t need help. Stay in bed, I’ll be right back.”

She rushed to the door, remembered with a yelp she was naked, dived for her dressing gown and closed the door hard against John’s puzzled face. The TARDIS had fully materialised in the living room and Clara yanked the door open.

“What are you doing here?” she hissed into the console room. The Doctor looked puzzled and Clara got a sudden feeling of deja vu.

“What do you mean? I’m here, in my TARDIS, I have every right to be in my own TAR-”

“Which is in my living room. In the middle of the night!”


“Most people sleep at night. And sometimes,” Clara said with a certain poignancy, “They don’t sleep alone.”

“You do now when Danny isn’t around.”

Clara crossed her arms and gave the Doctor her best glare.

“Am I being insensitive again?”

“To say the least, Doctor.”

“You think I should leave then?”

Clara gave him another look, and he backed away toward the console.

“All right, all right. You know, a lot of people are bad tempered in the mornings, but you obviously start very early, it’s still night.”

“Just. Go. Away.”

She continued to glare at the TARDIS until it was fully gone before she returned to the bedroom. There she found that John had got out of bed and was already dressed.

“You don’t have to go. The, um, pipes won’t trouble us anymore tonight.”

John looked serious. “Yes I do. Clara, I know exactly what that sounds was, and it has nothing to do with pipes. I know the sound of my own TARDIS when I hear it.”

He frowned. “Obviously you already know me. I don’t understand how this is possible, I’m not supposed to be able to cross my timeline like this.”

“Oh,” Clara said, feeling very faint. “I’m afraid that when it comes to me, it’s perfectly possible to tangle things up for you.”

She looked at the Doctor and wondered how she could have failed to recognise him before. Now those feelings of familiarity and ease fell into place and her memory obligingly provided a glimpse of him in cricket clothes and a Panama hat.

He looked at her keenly. "Really? How interesting. Don’t tell me anything.”


“I must figure out a way to forget this, and the less I know, the easier it will be.” He paused and looked a bit hopeful. “Unless you are sure my future self didn’t know you the first time we will meet.”

Clara shook her head. “No, you didn’t.”

“Pity. It had been nice to not have to forget you. I’m very sorry about that, it’s been lovely getting to know you. But I will again, some day. Do you travel with me? Don’t tell me that either.”

Clara followed him to the door, feeling somewhat befuddled. The Doctor paused in the doorway and nodded toward the bedroom.

“Are we still, you know?”

“No, we are just friend now. Very good friends.”

The Doctor actually looked disappointed, something Clara filed away for possible Doctor-taunting in the future. “Well, I guess it’s for the best, all things considered.”

He gave her his boyish smile and Clara suddenly realised this Doctor not only looked younger than his current regeneration, he really was a lot younger. She wasn’t quite sure which regeneration he was, but she had a feeling he must be one of the earlier ones. Definitely long before the Time Wars. There was an air of carefreeness about him she didn’t recognise from the Doctors she had known.

“It’s been truly delightful to get to know you Clara. Until I forget it, I will take great pleasure in knowing I will again.”

He leaned down and kissed her cheek. “Until we meet again, then.”

Clara stood tiptoe again and gave him a proper kiss. He would forget it anyway and she wanted to enjoy her last chance to kiss the Doctor without him being shocked out of his senses.

“Yes, until we meet again.”