Summary: Clara Oswald born as ordinary as any other human, wasn't she? The Doctor may have solved the mystery of the woman twice dead but there is yet more for both him and Clara to discover. What secrets lie in the impossible girl's past and why dose River know all of them.
AN: this story has been rattling around my head for a long time and has had so many different incarnations that my dear brother Lander is sick of hearing it. It is set after The name of the Doctor but before the The time of the Doctor. I hope to complete this story pretty quickly seen as I have almost two note books full of it but it does keep altering itself as I go along so I give you no promises.
The letter among the books.
Clara Oswald loved books more than most people could possibly understand. When her mother had died she had retreated into worlds of adventure and fantasy. In her books Clara had felt safe, they had bought her more solace than any of her well meaning friends could.
So it made sense that it was books she ran to after the events of Trenzalore. Clara had died thousands of times in one day and somehow she had survived the whole ordeal physically unscathed but emotionally she had become a mess. She knew the Doctor wanted to help her but she found that stability was what she was longing for and while the Doctor was many things, stable wasn't one of them.
The TADRIS library held more books than Clara had ever believed existed and in the first days of her recovery it felt like the only safe place in the whole universe.
Whenever an unwanted memory from one of her many past lives tried to make its self known Clara would just throw herself deeper into the book she was reading and the world around her would fade away, memory and all.
The Doctor tried to help her he really did but he was no real match for the TARDIS and her many books. The sentient ship that had so disliked Clara previously now treated her as if she were its own child. She would even keep her precious thief from seeing his impossible girl if she felt that was what was best for her.
Clara still found it hard to believe that the TARDIS had actually locked the Doctor out on occasion just so she could cry in peace but his constant moaning about it was proof that it had happened.
Slowly Clara began to trust the ship as much as she trusted the mad man the piloted it. It was that trust that led her to deepest, darkest corner of the library. She had cautiously followed the brightly lit tiles on the ships floor until she could go no further; she had finally reached the library's end. There she found the hall of unpublished manuscripts and unbelievably a letter addressed to her.
On a huge wooden desk sat a simple envelope with her name scrawled across it and beside it lay an unbound book just waiting to be read. Both were yellowed with age but it was clear they were meant for her, tentatively Clara settled herself on the plush chair that had been tucked in under the desk and opened the letter.
As she read the words before her Clara couldn't help but wonder if this was how the heroines from her books felt at the beginning of their stories. A strange mixture of fear and excitement lodged themselves in the pit of her stomach and as much as she wanted to run away, she didn't think she could.
My dearest Clara.
Hello you brave girl. My name is River song, I am sure we have met at least once by this point in your time line and I can only hope you remember it.
I know you have not long returned from Trenzalore, I can only imagine what an ordeal the last few days have been for you and I understand that you just want to forget everything that has happened but you can't, at least not yet. I have to ask you to relive one of your pasts.
Just one shouldn't be too hard for you, at least not if you are as clever as the Doctor believes you to be. I can't tell you which life of the many you have lived I need you to remember, you have to figure that out for yourself but I can help you.
Beside this letter you will find a manuscript to most people it would be nothing more than a story but for you it is a map. It will lead you to the life you are looking for.
I know the thought of revising one of your lives must scare you, but I assure you, you can do this and you will be glad you did. The TARDIS would not have allowed to find this letter if you were not ready.
She has always liked you, you know. She always knew your journey with the Doctor would lead you into terrible danger, she knew you would give your life for him and she did all she could to save you. She even tired to scare you off by making you believe she disliked you but she underestimated just how stubborn you were Clara Oswald and here you are. The impossible girl, the companion who died a thousand times for the Doctor yet somehow lived to tell the tale. One journey has ended but the time has come for another to begin. The manuscript will tell you all you need to know.
I am sorry for asking this of you Clara but please know that it is as much for your benefit as it is the Doctors, the universe owes you a debt impossible girl and I think it is time both of you collected.
Good luck and happy reading.
Professor River Song.
Clara knew that time travel sometimes confused things, such as relationships. The Doctor had explained about him and River and how nothing had ever happened in chronological order for them, but she had never thought that something like that would happen to her.
The Doctor came for her every Wednesday, he was always the same man that had dropped her off the week before and as far as she knew they were always on the same page time line wise. So she never had to deal with much confusion and truthfully she had never expected she would have to. She was struggling to comprehend how was this possible.
She hadn't even met River until Madame Vastra's conference call and the woman that Clara had subsequently come to know was nothing more than a computer program as far as she could tell. An incredibly intelligent, sentient computer program with a very sad story to tell but a computer program none the less.
She couldn't have written this letter, it just wasn't possible. How could she have gotten it onto the TARDIS for one thing and how could it have gotten so old so fast for another?
Unless one day she would meet a still living River and tell her the story of Trenzalore and the strange letter she had found shortly after, which would lead River to write the letter then jump back in time hundreds of years to plant it and the book for Clara to find in the first place. Was that even a plausible theory?
Clara suddenly understood why The Doctor described some situations as being a wibbly wobbly timey wimey thing, because just trying to understand it yourself made your head spin so how could you ever explain it to someone else.
"Is this real?" Clara wondered aloud, she wanted to believe it was because she didn't like to think that an imposter could have gotten on to the TARDIS to deliver it but at the same time it seemed to improbable to be real. "This can't actually be happening" she finally decided putting the letter down and getting up to leave.
"Of course it's real" said a very familiar voice from behind her. Clara spun on her heel and came face to face with herself. She looked tired and slightly dishevelled but the girl before her was defiantly her; she was wearing the same cloths and everything.
"Is this you?" Clara yelled up towards the TARDIS's distant ceiling "Is this that interface thing again?"
"Yes and no" the Clara who stood opposite her answered "yes the snog box bought me here no I'm not that interface thing" she explained "I'm you; at least I was however long ago I was that I was here".
"You can't remember how long ago it was when you came into the bowels of the TARDIS library and found a letter from a ghost waiting for you?" Clara asked warily.
"No" the girl shot back "and neither will you when you're the one standing here. Now sit yourself down and start reading" she demanded pointing at the chair that Clara had just vacated.
Clara was seriously beginning to doubt that the woman who stood before her was really her future self because surely she would have more sense than to try and order herself around. Clara Oswald did not take kindly to orders.
"I know what you are thinking" the future Clara said folding her arms across her chest "yes, I'm bossy deal with it the Doctor has to often enough and we don't have time for me to explain everything to you-I mean me-oh you know what I mean, just read it" she snapped pointing to the book that still lay on the desk.
Clara sat down and picked up the book with an over exaggerated sigh "happy now?" she asked her double sarcastically.
"Actually yes" the other Clara shot back "this won't be easy" she said suddenly sounding sympathetic "but it will be worth it" she promised before disappearing from sight.
"Wait, what will be worth it?" Clara yelled into the empty air around her. She couldn't believe she would just vanish like that, not without giving herself some answers.
"What am I letting myself in for?" Clara muttered as gave up on her future self returning and slowly opened the book that lay in her lap. She had only read the first few words when her own voice echoed around her one more time. Apparently Clara Oswald always got the last word even against herself not that this particular last word was any help to her at all.
Thanks for reading, let me know what you think