The Doctor stepped out of the TARDIS into Clara’s flat, halfway expecting she was already waiting for him. But she didn’t. She also didn’t come running towards him, forcing him into a hug. Odd.
He snooped around the kitchen. No Clara. He inspected the fridge and the freezer, just to make sure there were no alien life forms inside. He eyed a piece of cheese suspiciously and ate it, just to make sure it couldn’t hurt Clara in case it was a Fungharatop.
Then, he meandered to the living room. There she was. Wrapped in a blanket, sitting on the sofa, staring at a TV that was switched off. He never understood the weird obsession of humans with TV. But it was even odder to stare at it without it being switched on, broadcasting mind-numbing nonsense.
She looked up.
“Oh, hello, Doctor!”
She didn’t smile. It was not good when she didn’t smile. It meant she was sad. Sad was bad.
“Clara? What’s up? It is Wednesday. Come on, chop-chop, all of time and all of space just around the corner!”
He reached out his hand, a gesture she usually couldn’t resist. But she just pulled the blanket closer around her shoulders and shook her head.
“Sorry, Doctor. I just don’t feel like adventuring today. We can do another day. Maybe tomorrow?”
That didn’t sound like Clara. She was a control freak. Everything had to be exactly like she wanted it to be. They never went adventuring on a Thursday. Or a Tuesday, for that matter. No matter how interesting something he had discovered was, she always insisted on Wednesday. Something was not alright with her.
“Sure. But… it doesn’t sound like you. Skipping Wednesdays, I mean. What’s the matter?”
“Nothing? Doesn’t look like nothing to me.”
Perhaps she was ill? He pulled out his screwdriver and scanned her. The readings came back as normal. No viruses, no bacterial infection, menstruation circle working normal – he still hoped that humanity would evolve to a less painful and more convenient way to keep their females fertile. He hated what some of his companions had to endure every month. Also, no broken bones and all organs doing exactly what they should do. Bit of a mess of chemicals in her brain, but that was always the case with humans and he never had gotten around researching the specifics.
“Well, at least you are not ill. Come on, Clara, what’s wrong? I might not be good at spotting human emotions, but even I can tell that you are sad. Won’t you tell me what made you sad?”
He let himself slump beside her on the sofa.
“You wouldn’t understand it, anyway, Doctor.”
He was a bit angry at that remark. He understood a lot of things. For sure more than she did. But she was sad. So, he suppressed his anger and tried to stay calm.
“Seriously, you tell me all the time that you are above human emotions, so you won’t understand.”
Did he say such things? That sounded rude. Was he rude?
“I lived for over 2,000 years and I sure saw a lot of sad things. So, don’t you think I don’t understand. Just tell me.”
“Yes, you saw a lot of sad things… but… are you sometimes… you know… sad for no particular reason? Like: your friends and colleagues are nice, but still, you are not happy about it? Everybody says you are doing fine, and you still feel like you are getting nothing done and whatever you do is not good enough?”
Well. No. He didn’t know that feeling. Ah, yes, perhaps he knew. He always tried to be a good man, but often, he failed, making matters worse.
“Uh, well, yes, maybe I know that feeling.”
“Really? What do you do? When you feel like shit and like you are worth nothing and just annoy everybody and nothing is fun anymore?”
Ah. Well. Yes. He knew that feeling for sure.
“Oh. That’s easy!”
She looked at him, surprised.
“Yup. I just skip to next Wednesday.”
“That’s it? That’s your fix? Change the day?”
“No, of course not. That would be silly. But I come to you and we go out adventuring together and have fun and usually, that is everything I need to stop worrying about my existence.”
She looked at him incredulous. As if she saw him the first time after regeneration.
He confirmed, grinning broadly.
“Should we try if it works for you, too?”
She looked down to her hands.
“Sorry, Doctor. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I think it doesn’t work for me. Not today, anyway. I don’t feel like going on an adventure with you. I feel like sitting here, brooding and pitying myself. Just go and search for another adventure today.”
Oh. Well. But… he didn’t want to go on an adventure alone. That was boring. It was Wednesday. Claraday. If she wanted to stay in, fine. But he didn’t feel like leaving. And he didn’t like that she was sad. He needed to fix it. He always fixed things. He could at least try to fix Clara.
“Fine. Then I stay in and brood with you! I can even try to pity you, so you don’t have to do it yourself!”
“You do? Stay here with me? Doing nothing at all?”
A very tiny smile appeared on her lips.
“Wow, I hadn’t anticipated you are willing to bore yourself with me.”
“We don’t bore ourselves; we brood. Brooding is an essential life skill.”
He folded his arms, hung his head, and frowned so hard that his eyebrows became a massive pile of very Scottish worrying about life, living and the meaning of life itself. For a while, both said nothing at all and brooded together.
“You know what goes well with brooding?”
The Doctor asked after a while.
“That, too. But there is even something better. And I saw you have it here.”
He grinned broadly, jumped from the sofa, scooted into the kitchen and came back with a big bowel of ice cream and two spoons.
“Ice cream. Making people feel better since the Roman Empire!”
He handed Clara a spoon and shoved his into the delicious frozen mass, scooping a big serving into his mouth. He let another one follow.
“Uhm. Doctor? I’m the one who is sad.”
He handed her the bowel. She also ate two spoonsful.
He grabbed the bowel from her to make sure no hidden aliens had appeared in there.
“That one is delicious!”
“Cookie dough – it’s my favorite flavor!”
He took two more spoons before Clara snatched the bowel from him.
“I like the funny bits; you can have the rest around them!”
He said, snatching the bowel back, working to get as many of the cookie dough pieces as possible out of the ice cream before Clara got a hold on the bowel again.
“The funny bits are the cookie dough and they are kind of the point why this is my favorite. I take them out, you get the rest, Doctor.”
He waited until she had scooped three pieces out, before he couldn’t stand to look any longer and took the bowel back.
“What? I have to make sure it is really cookie dough and not alien technology,” he shrugged.
“Liar! You are looking for your own advantage!”
Clara hit him playfully with the spoon. He handed her the bowl back and let her finish the last three pieces. He was a gentleman, after all. Well, gentle alien, more like it.
“That was excellent, Doctor!”
“I know,” he shrugged, “I lived for over 2,000 years, I’m a brooding expert. And an expert in brooding food.”
“You really are!”
“You know what is also great for brooding?”
“Pizza and a movie!”
“I never thought you could be so…”
“…hoggish? You know that about me, Clara!”
“That’s not what I wanted to say, Doctor. Caring. You can be really caring if you want to be.”
“I’m always caring, Clara. You just need to pay more attention!”
Clara giggled. He had made her giggle. That was good. Giggling was good.
“Alright, you carer, you order the pizza, I search for a movie in the meanwhile.”
“Alright. But not a romantic movie, I hate romantic movies!”
“I know. Because they make you cry. I thought about something from Disney!”
“They don’t make me cry! I had something in my eye! And agreed, Disney movies are excellent brooding movies!”
“Right. And Doctor: order two pizzas. It was bad enough to share the ice cream!”
“Okay, so four pizzas, then. I thought one was enough for your tiny body. But you are the boss.”
“No, no, one is enough for me, thank you Doctor!”
“Anchovies, capotes and pepper?”
“You remember my favorite toppings, Doctor?”
“Of course, I do, I’m a superior Time Lord, after all.”
He shrugged and was glad to see her smiling and her eyes shining again. He always carried a notebook where he jotted those tiny details down, but she didn’t have to know that. He also had the number of her favorite delivery service in there and started dialing the number.
He was allowed to play the impossible domestic hero from time to time, wasn’t he?