Inspired by the beautiful scene in the TARDIS at the end of 9.6 The Woman Who Lived. Set at some point after Last Christmas.
"I shouldn't have lied to you," the Doctor mutters.
"I shouldn't have lied to you," Clara repeats solemnly.
"Well, glad that's settled then, let's go to Glastonbury-"
"No! I...I think we need to sort things, Doctor,"
"What things? Is it about your marking again? I told you, Year Nine have all copied off Wikipedia and they're all wrong. I should know, I played Atari with Mary Wollstencr-"
"About us. You and me. We both lied to each other and I think we need to address that, not just apologise". She gives him her Scary Miss Oswald glare.
There's a nervous pause, until the Doctor challenges, "Well, go on then. Address it,"
"You didn't find Gallifrey," Clara accuses.
"No. I didn't,"
"Did you look?"
"Of course I looked," he snaps, "I went to the co-ordinates Missy gave me and it wasn't there,"
"It wasn't there," he growls. Another pause, this time more tense. Then he rounds on her. "And Danny Pink's dead,"
"Yeah. He sent back a- he sent back somebody who shouldn't have died. A boy,"
"Oh. Well. That was very nice of him,"
"Yeah, it was," Clara nods, "He was a good man,"
The Doctor doesn't reply and pretends to be busy typing on the TARDIS computer. Clara watches him for a second, then thumps her hand on the console. "Doctor! We need to talk,"
"What is there to say? Clara? What is there to say?" he demands, and it gives Clara a grim satisfaction that she's made him lose his temper, "I didn't find Gallifrey, you didn't find Danny. Curtain falls, goodnight everybody, please take all your belongings when leaving the train,"
"We need to be different. We shouldn't have lied to each other," Clara answers, trying hard not to raise her voice, "We should have told each other we were hurting so we could have been there for each other. Like friends,"
"I can't promise not to lie to you," the Doctor states, "Sometimes for your own protection-"
"Don't you dare patronise me,"
"This is the truth, Clara," he hisses, "Do you want me to patronise you or do you want me to lie?"
"Here we go again, I'm a big bad Time Lord and I'm so much wiser than all the rest of you," she mocks, rolling her eyes.
"So you lying to me wasn't patronising?
"I didn't want you to feel guilty about going back to Gallifrey. I wanted you to think I was happy,"
"You weren't happy. We said goodbye on that street corner and you looked like you'd just had your liver transplant cancelled,"
"So why didn't you ask what was wrong?" Clara wails.
The Doctor splutters for a moment before shrugging lamely, "You're human, it could have been anything,"
Clara does what she tells the kids in Anger Management to do; close her eyes, breathe out slowly and count to ten. "Okay. Doctor. Can we agree that from now on, we'll be honest with one another about personal stuff. We won't lie to each other about missing planets or missing boyfriends, or things we've been promised that didn't happen. Can you do that for me?"
She opens her eyes. The Doctor is looking at her intently. After a long time he says gruffly, "Yes. Agreed. Unless it's for your own protection, or the protection of the universe, agreed,"
He always has to shove in some facetious caveat, Clara grumbles internally. But she knows that that promise is the best she's going to get from him. "Thank you,"
"Are we done?" the Doctor asks impatiently, "Is that it?"
"Yeah, that's it,"
"Well then," he huffs, and starts flicking switches again. Clara holds her arms out hopefully for hug.
"What?" he asks, playing dumb.
She cocks her head. "You know,"
"Hugging? After everything we've just said about lying, you still want to hug?"
"Yeah. It's what people do after a deep chat,"
"It's a way to hide your face," he intones stonily.
"Not everything has to be a cynical one-liner. It's just a hug. I think we should hug more,"
The Doctor rolls his eyes theatrically. Clara rolls hers back. They fold their arms simultaneously and glare at each other for a few moments. Clara's the first to break.
"Okay, fine," she relents, unfolding her arms and crossing over to the Doctor, "How about this?"
She moves behind him, puts her arms around his chest and rests her head against his shoulder. He smells of guitar cases and new books and old metal. His chest doesn't feel as narrow as it looks although his hoodie is significantly more threabare. Clara's hugged him less than a dozen times, but it feels like she belongs here. She doesn't say that, of course. What she says is: "See, now we can see each others' faces,"
The Doctor looks down at her. For few long moments his expression is granite. Then it cracks into a gentle smile.
"Nice?" Clara asks, risking squeezing him tighter. She's close enough to lean up and kiss his cheek, but she doesn't. One step at a time.
"Nice," he nods.
Clara's tempted to add a see, told you you'd like it but bites her tongue. She says nothing, just holds him and burrows her head into his shoulder. They stay like that for a long time. Then the Doctor grins devilishly at her and says, "I think I'd still prefer a hand-shake".
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