Chapter Five

Clara followed the Doctor while they walked through the field. So far they hadn't seen anymore bird lizards, actually they hadn't seen much of anything apart from a few strange insects and some birds. Clara wondered just how far they were going to go. She looked back and noticed the TARDIS was now a good distance away from them.

"How long does it take for the TARDIS to repair herself?" Clara asked the Doctor as they walked.

"Depends on how heavily damaged she is, she's pretty banged up so it might take awhile," the Doctor said.

"Yeah, but we're walking further and further away from it and there's nothing in sight. Shouldn't we wait until it's finished?" Clara said.

"I don't know how long that will be and we might get attacked again by that creature," the Doctor said.

"Yeah, but what if we don't find anything and we need to get back and…"

"CLARA, STOP WHINGING!" the Doctor bellowed as he suddenly spun around.

He stood there in shock while Clara backed up and stared at him with a mixture of shock and fear. The Doctor swallowed hard.

"I'm…sorry, I didn't mean it like that," he said, holding out his hand to her. "I shouldn't have yelled at you. Forgive me, Clara, please."

"You're not the same man," Clara said, backing up. "He told me to be your friend but I don't think he realized how different you are from him."

"Who told you to be my friend?" the Doctor said.

"You…you rang me before you changed."

The Doctor thought about that and nodded.

"That's right, I did," he said. "Mind's still a muddle, still trying to cope with the change. Yes, I did tell you that, Clara, and I meant it. And that's not true; I did anticipate having a different personality. It's just that…I don't know who I am yet."

"You're the Doctor."

"Yes, I know that. But who I am as a person. Am I sarcastic, friendly, loving, moody, that sort of thing. I'm still trying to sort through what happened and it's frustrating and your complaining added to that and I yelled when I shouldn't have. And I'm sorry, I truly am. I want us to be friends. I want you to trust me. Please trust me, Clara," he implored with both hands stretched out to her. "I know I'm different from my other self but that doesn't mean we can't have fun and have a giggle like we did before. Just give me time to adjust and I'll be right as rain in no time. Okay?"

Clara nodded and put her hands in his. The Doctor smiled tenderly and closed his hands, squeezing hers while he thanked her. Clara stared at his face, his warm smile and beautiful eyes and was struck by how dark the eyes looked a second ago when he yelled at her. They looked almost black but perhaps that was the shock of having her best friend scream at her that made her see that so she dismissed it as her imagination.

"And I know that we're heading away from the TARDIS into heaven knows what," the Doctor continued gently while he held her hands. "But as I said before, those creatures might come back. Besides, something usually happens when I go walking so perhaps we'll find someone. But if not, we can enjoy the day on an alien planet and have a nice stroll, is that alright?"

"Sounds fantastic," Clara said sincerely.

The Doctor smiled warmly and Clara finally saw a hint of the Doctor she had come to love. She didn't resist when this Doctor drew her near for a tight hug and they stood there together, hugging one another.

"I am a good man, Clara, I promise that," the Doctor murmured as he held her. "I won't disappoint you, just give me some time."

"I will, Doctor. I won't leave," Clara said.

The Doctor smiled and rubbed her back affectionately. Clara stood there with him and breathed in the unfamiliar scent of this new Doctor. The other Doctor used to hug her and she'd become accustomed to his pleasant scent, soap, shampoo and something indefinable that she always thought of as the scent of the universe. This new Doctor smelled a bit dodgy but it wasn't overpowering and she figured it was because he hadn't had a shower yet. But even so, there was still the hint of the universe smell that helped her to calm down and realize that this was the same man who asked her to travel with him nearly a year ago.

"So, are we ready?" the Doctor said as he broke off the embrace and stepped back.

"Ready," Clara said.

The Doctor turned to go and looked down when Clara took his hand. He smiled at her and squeezed her hand before the two of them continued their hike away from the TARDIS.

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