Chapter Nineteen

The Doctor and Clara stood outside Gaz's TARDIS. Clara watched while the Doctor spoke to the timeship, imploring it to let them in so they could rescue Gaz and Rose. Clara noticed that the box was not responding and it didn't surprise her since she'd had her own troubles trying to get the Doctor's TARDIS to like her.

"I don't think this is going to work, Clara," the Doctor finally said as he turned to her. "TARDISes bond with their owners and they're very picky about who they let inside."

"But you're the Doctor; we were inside there just now."

"With Gaz," the Doctor said. "The TARDIS can also read minds and I suspect it won't let us in because…"

"Because Gaz doesn't like you?" Clara said when the Doctor fell silent.

The Doctor nodded and let out an angry sigh.

"Doctor, he's a nice guy," Clara said as the Doctor seethed with quiet anger while staring at the TARDIS door. "I mean I don't know him well and I don't know everything that went on between you but he seems to be a nice person."

"Yeah, perhaps," the Doctor said, lowering his head. "It's just that…Rose and I…"

"You were lovers?" Clara said when the Doctor didn't speak and just stared at the ground.

For a moment, the Doctor didn't do anything and then Clara made out the tiniest of nods. She walked over to him and put her hand on his shoulder.

"Hey," she said softly.

The Doctor looked up at her and she smiled tenderly.

"I understand, Doctor," she said, trying to be sympathetic to her friend. "I know what it's like to love someone, lose them and then watch as they carry on their life with someone else."

The Doctor shook his head.

"It's been centuries since I last saw her, Clara. I should be over it by now but…"

"But you can't get over her because she's imbedded deep within your heart, I mean, hearts," Clara said.

The Doctor nodded again and Clara put her arms around him and gave him a hug. To her surprise, he didn't stiffen this time but put his arms around her and hugged her back.

"I don't want to be resentful and jealous of Gaz but I can't help it," the Doctor said as he hugged her. "I still love her, Clara."

Clara tightened her hug and smiled when the Doctor tightened his. Then she felt him stiffen and for a moment, she thought she'd gone too far with the hugs when she heard the Doctor bark out, "What are you doing here?" She broke off the hug and turned to see M'nan'do was several feet away, glaring at them while a grey cat stood beside him, leaning on a staff and staring at them with interest. M'nan'do was about to go towards them when the elderly cat held up his hand and slowly walked towards them. The Doctor stepped in front of Clara while Shi'tak'wa gazed upon him.

"You are the Storm Man?" he said to the Doctor after a few moments of scrutiny.

"I am called the Oncoming Storm by some," the Doctor said, not sure where this was going.

He noticed that M'nan'do visibily stiffened at the mention of his nickname and he made sure that Clara was directly behind him. The elderly cat sniffed the air around the Doctor before nodding.

"I am Shi'tak'wa, one of the elders of the village. This is my son," he said, nodding his head at M'nan'do. "He tells me that one of our exiles saw you in a prophecy and it was written down. It is said that you will bring ruin and devastation to worlds."

Clara noticed the Doctor stiffen at that again and she moved around him.

"No, you don't understand," she said. "The Doctor protects worlds, I've seen it. He's a good man."

"Am I?"

Clara looked at the Doctor when he spoke.

"Am I a good man, Clara?" he said to her.

Clara was thrown off by the question and she remembered what Gaz had said about the Valeyard. She found it hard to believe that the man she cared deeply about was some sort of demented killer that lived to destroy worlds."

"You are a good man, Doctor," she said firmly.

She noticed the dubious look on the Doctor's face but he said nothing and turned his attention back to Shi'tak'wa.

"As Clara said, I try to protect worlds, not destroy them," he said to the elderly cat. "I may not always succeed in that, but I try my best. Now…" he said, quickly changing the subject as he pointed at M'nan'do, "this bloke kidnapped two people from our group and I want to know where they are and if they are safe or you really will see the Oncoming Storm."

M'nan'do hissed at that and started to run towards the Doctor but his father held up his hand and stopped him.

"Why were they taken away, my son?" he said, turning to M'nan'do.

"Because they are a threat, father," M'nan'do said, pointing to the Doctor. "They must be done away with."

"So far I have seen no evidence of malice from these two," Shi'tak'wa said mildly. "Did your companions threaten anyone in the village" he said to the Doctor.

"No, they did not," the Doctor said emphatically while Clara shook her head. "They were taken away because your son is a hothead and acted irrationally.

"I am defending my village, Hairless One!" M'nan'do growled at him.

"And we were just traveling and exploring the region, Furball!" the Doctor snarled back. "We told you we came in peace but you didn't listen because as your father so clearly pointed out, you are a hothead and if Rose and…Gaz die…" he added, balling his hands into fists.

"Son, take us to them at once," Shi'tak'wa said, turning towards M'nan'do. "If they came in peace, you have just committed a grevious sin. We do not treat people this way if they come in peace. Now lead us to where they were taken."

M'nan'do growled low in his throat as he glared at the Doctor. The Doctor smirked at that and M'nan'do swished his tail in anger before turning and leading everyone back towards the village.

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