A/N Hello! So I hope the summary gae you a good idea of what this one shot is about. Includes Whouffle goodness, Sherlock being his rude and deducing self, John being skeptical and clueless, dead people, and basically a bunch of other awesome that I came up with! Yay! This is a little bit jokey too, so yeah. :) enjoy and please review!
Clara's vision spun and twisted as she was hurled off the ledge of the TARDIS console room, and, despite madly grabbing for the railing, flung onto the floor below.
The Doctor was yelling something about rifts in the time vortex as she gathered herself up, her wrist stabbing with pain where it had been slammed against the cold floor. He seemed to realise that she was not beside him and started shouting,"Clara! Clara!" before leaping down the stairs to where she crouched.
"Clara? Are you alright? Clara?"
"Oh, calm down. I'm fine. Just knocked my wrist around a bit."
He took her by the shoulders, looking her up and down before taking her aching wrist. His fingers tingled against her skin in a way that made her look away from him and down to the floor.
The Doctor buzzed her wrist with his sonic screwdriver before announcing, "It'll be fine. Just a nasty bruise. Don't write with it for a while or anything."
"I knew that, Doctor. Really."
He paused for a second, still holding her wrist, before planting a quick, soft kiss on the skin there.
Stop it, Clara, she scolded herself. It's not happening. Do the trick.
She raised her eyebrow at him, commenting, "Someone's a little eager," and he dropped her hand.
"So what just happened?" she asked lightly as they returned to the console. "I think you don't actually know how to fly this thing and just press random buttons to see where it takes us. Did you pull one too many levers?"
"Oh, shut up. Of course I can fly her. But we were sucked in by something, we fell through a hole."
"A hole in the universe. We're in a parallel universe, Clara."
The Doctor pulled open the TARDIS doors, muttering, "I wonder what we'll find."
Clara followed him quickly outside, only to freeze beside him as they looked- in a seemingly normal, modern, quiet alleyway- upon the body of a dead man.
The Doctor crouched by it to check the pulse, but they both had known that he was beyond saving the moment they set eyes on him. They way his limbs were arranged, impossibly tangled and bent, and the glassy eyes screamed "death" to all that would listen, and even some who didn't want to.
He stood back up beside her, and she felt him take her hand, but the look on his face told her that he didn't even realise what he was doing.
Running footsteps and shouts sounded down the alleyway, and both Clara and the Doctor turned in unison to see two men sprinting towards them.
The first man, a tall, skinny one with dark locks that rivaled even the Doctor's carefully configured quiff, brushed both of them out of the way and bent to study the body intently. The second one, shorter, with blondish hair, a ridiculous jumper and a suit jacket, stood beside him, his expression much more shocked and worried. This made Clara much more comfortable to him than the taller one, who was inspecting the corpse with eyes narrowed in concentration
"He's dead," the short one said softly, simply.
"Excuse me," the Doctor coughed.
The taller man didn't look up, but the shorter one stepped over to them.
"I'm John Watson. And this is Sherlock. Consulting detective. Would you care to explain to us why you are here, standing over a dead body?"
"I could ask you exactly the same thing. Nice jumper, by the way."
"I can call in the police if-"
"Oh shut up, John. They have nothing to do with it."
"Yes, and I do not really care to explain to your pitiful human mind the fine reasoning I have which excludes those two from becoming potential murder suspects, but the least of the indications is the fact that the girl is staying silent, obviously quite in shock from the discovery but not even attempting to prove her innocence, while a murderer would try to fashion some story or distraction, however weak. And the man is standing notably close to the girl and is holding her hand, a subconscious gesture of comfort, lending to the fact that he is not the murderer either. How do I know this act is subconscious and not a feeble attempt at pretending to be innocent by consoling her?" the man straightened up to squint at the Doctor. "Simply the eyes, John, he is looking at her sidelong every few seconds, and look at his face. He has seen death before. Yes, he is not shocked, he is not afraid. He is pained, and not pained for himself but pained for her. But, no, this is not an ordinary human emotion. This isn't ordinary, no... who are you?" the last question was directed sharply at the Doctor, who stood and stared back into the man's eyes.
But this was no ordinary man. How had he seen all that in just a few seconds of looking at them? All that information, from a passing glance. It was unnerving if not verging on frightening. Not even the Doctor could do something like that.
"I'm the Doctor," he said loudly, and she tell by his voice that he was shaken by what this man- Sherlock- had said, and was trying to regain a grasp on the situation. She also noticed that he had dropped her hand to hang loosely in the air.
"No, no, no, that's not all you are. Are you human, even, no I don't think you are..."
"Who, may I ask, are you?" Clara interrupted.
He glanced at her, the look more sharply honed than a butcher's blade, and snapped, "My name is Sherlock Holmes, and could you please shut up?"
"He said please," the short man, John, said. "That means it's really important."
"I don't take orders from rude strangers who turn up in alleyways with dead bodies. And did you say Sherlock Holmes?"
"Yes, Sherlock Holmes, now you need to tell me who you are," Sherlock turned back to the Doctor.
Clara couldn't seem to get a reliable hold on what was happening here in her mind. This was Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes. In a parallel universe. With a dead body.
"I'm a man," the Doctor replied, his expression hard and unreadable.
"No, no you aren't."
The Doctor let out a breath.
"Look, you aren't interrogating him," Clara tried to match Sherlock's own harsh tone. "And are you really Sherlock Holmes? As in deerstalker hats and smoking pipes Sherlock Holmes?"
"Oh John, that hat! And I'll have you know that I have three nicorette patches on right now and you two tell me who. You. Are!"
The Doctor surprised her by answering steadily, "We're time travelers. I'm the Doctor and I'm a thousand year old man from a planet far from this galaxy and this is Clara who is a human and we fell into this universe and came across this body and that. Is. All!" he finished, emphasizing the last three words in the same fashion as Sherlock. He had straightened up to look the other man clear in the eyes, and Clara was reminded of two Alpha wolves squaring each other off for a fight.
She saw John give her a strange look, something like bewilderment, especially at the fact that Sherlock had not even questioned the Doctor's story.
They stood there for at least a minute, studying each other, before Clara crouched down next to the body and noticed something. There were no wounds. The face of the man was not discoloured in any way by poison or asphyxiation. How had this man been killed?
"Doctor, I think we have bigger problems here than your face-off with parallel Sherlock Holmes."
To her relief, he and Sherlock gathered around the body, the former taking out his sonic screwdriver and scanning it over the corpse. The latter gave the tool a suspicious glance but otherwise did not question it.
"He is definitely dead. That is certain. But he's been... I can't figure this out, the sonic wont find the right..." his voice faded as he fiddled with the frequency.
"Killer was unexpected, from his position and the angle towards the end of the alleyway. If there was a killer. He was returning home from a night out, dinner, where he had..." Sherlock bent down to sniff the air. "Garlic prawns. A construction worker, given the distinctive rawness and calluses of his hands. He is newly engaged, but uncertain about the prospect as he has nervously fiddled with the ring regularly," he paused to fish a leather wallet out of the man's jacket, which he opened and inspected. "Quite a bit of money here for a construction worker... And fake identification cards. Very well made, easily mistaken for genuine. This piece of paper, a shopping list, but these items are strange...a code. It's a coded message. This man, I believe was at the head of underground operations. Any number of people could have wanted him dead."
This, most definitely, was Sherlock Holmes.
"He likes to show off around new people. Likes to make an impression," John remarked.
The Doctor rose slowly, staring at his sonic reading. "You're right. He was killed. But not by any human."
"By what, then? Look, what the hell is going on here? Sherlock, these people are not time travelers! It doesn't exist! Aliens don't exist!"
"Oh, John, you humans need to realize that this world is definitely not what you see. The sooner you know that, the easier it is."
"You say that as if you aren't human," Clara observed.
"He is. Just less human than the rest of you," the Doctor said slowly. "But more human than what killed that man. He was killed by a creature I've met once before, part of an order called the Silence. They had an ingenious attack mechanism, whenever you looked away from them, you forgot them and you forgot all the thoughts you had while looking at them. They absorbed static electricity from the air, which is what they used to kill."
"And why did they kill?" Sherlock asked drily.
"Well they had a specific grudge against me, but, mostly... Fun."
"Oh this is just too far! Aliens that you forget, murdering people on the streets of London?" John threw his arms up in the air.
But a creeping feeling edged into Clara's mind and knocked at the premise of her thoughts.
"Doctor. If we forget them every time we look away from them, then couldn't whatever killed him... Still be here?"
The Doctor looked at her, Sherlock looked at him, John looked at Sherlock, at Clara looked around at them all.
"Yes, Clara. It very well could."
"It's here," John said quietly.
The Doctor and Sherlock turned to look, but Clara looked at them.
She noticed the Doctor had several scratches on the backs of his hands, it looked like he had been using his fingernails to scrape tally marks into his skin. He must have seen it before. She must have seen it before. They all had. It had been here the whole time.
"Just step back, slowly now, alright..." the Doctor ordered them softly.
She backed away slowly with them, but did not look at the creature, however much her curiosity called. She needed to think. None of them knew anything about the creature's appearance, or weaknesses. Just that it would kill them easily and without mercy, for enjoyment.
The Doctor began rambling about the voltage intensity of the creature's attack, but she could hear in his tone that he was panicking.
Sherlock and the Doctor were standing tall in front of them, and the latter was beginning to push the former behind him as well, though met with sufficient resistance.
There must be something...something...
The body. The dead man. Sherlock said he was...a mob boss. What if...
Clara stepped back and crouched down next to the body, using two tentative fingers to reach into his pocket. She tried not to look at his cold, lifeless face, tried not to think that this was a man whose life had been unfairly robbed from him, for some sick fun.
Her fingers closed around something cold and smooth. She pulled it out slowly, and although she was hoping above all hope for this, she still took in a sharp breath as she saw the pistol hanging loosely from her hand.
She rose, clenching tightly around the gun despite how the feel of it repelled her. The unforgiving angles, dark, shadowy metal, and stabbing coldness of it was far from welcoming, and it was just the concept of holding something that could kill a man with just one twitch of the finger was horrifying.
All the same, there was no other way. Even the Doctor was babbling in his panic.
So she was quick and decisive when she heard a crackle of electricity build, and leaped over the body, pushing the Doctor and Sherlock to the side.
There was the creature. A tall, lanky thing, with ghostly veined skin and a face that reminded her of a human, mid-terrified scream. Clara pulled down the safety, just like in all the books she had read. But unlike the stories, the click accompanied a deep pit forming in her stomach.
She saw blue threads of electricity gathering in the monster's hand, heard a shout, "Cla-" and pulled the trigger.
The shot rang out through the echoing alleyway, and Clara heard an unmistakable thunk as something fell to the ground. The jolt of the gun had surprised her, and she stumbled back, losing sight of the creature. But she knew had been standing less than a foot before it, and despite never having even seen a real gun in her life, she knew she had not missed.
"Clara!" the Doctor yelled again, and suddenly he was beside her, looking earnestly at her face. She gave him a weak smile as he pulled her into a hug.
"Well," John said. "I think we all need to sit down and have some tea."
Clara settled into the couch, gazing around at the disheveled apartment they were sitting in. It was littered with books and papers and miscellaneous murder weapons, and the wallpaper behind her had a curious yellow smiley face painted on it, which was peppered with bullet holes.
She got the feeling that this parallel Sherlock Holmes was quite mad.
"So, all this alien stuff...it's real?"
"Of course it's real, John, have you been looking? I've suspected alien interference in this world's affairs for years, but it seems that ordinary minds fail to grasp that idea."
Clara glanced sidelong at the Doctor, who was sitting at the other end of the couch and sipping his tea (eight sugars!) slowly. She still felt a little shaken from the incident, and the ringing bang that had echoed through the alleyway when she had pulled her finger back would not fade from her mind. All this combined to make her more than a little irritated, especially with Sherlock and his uncaring arrogance.
"There's no need to be so rude, you know. You may have an "extraordinary" mind that can deduce the entire livelihood of a dead man in one look, but that doesn't mean that everyone else is ordinary."
Sherlock seemed a little taken aback at her answer, and she caught the Doctor smiling to himself.
There was silence for a few moments, in which everyone drank their tea with tentative sips and Clara saw the Doctor sneaking just as tentative looks at her when he thought she was intent on her English Breakfast.
"For sanity's sake, could you two be any more obvious?!" Sherlock snapped suddenly. She could see this harsh comment was largely due to her scolding him.
"Sorry, what?" the Doctor asked confusedly.
"Oh, he's denying it, too, how sweet. Look, I like neither of you and you are both yelling just a little too loud at the moment."
"I didn't say anything."
"Didn't say anything...alright then. When you came in you sat on that end of the couch, the girl-"
"My name is Clara," she said sharply. She had no idea where this was going but this man was going to use her name.
"Yes, Clara stood for a second too long before sitting at the other end. You like him, definitely, oh yes. But you are unsure. That dress you're wearing, it's purple. A very similar colour to the ridiculous coat the Doctor has, a coat I can see he wears almost every day. Most likely a subconscious association out of unacknowledged fondness. And that ring, on your right hand. It's scratched and clouded, you don't wear it for its aesthetics, it has some sentimental value. It's old, an heirloom of some kind. Passed down from you mother, probably, who died when you were a teenager and gave you her ring. You finger it constantly, especially after interacting with the Doctor in some way. Oh, that's it. You lost someone. And you don't want to lose again. Ah, how amusing. That's why you sat there. You love him, but you don't want to admit it to yourself. But you're comfortable around one another, you trust him. You know he's fleeting, he might not stay, he's hurt, he's angry. But you trust him. And you're failing.
"And you, Doctor. You keep on looking at her out of the corner of your eye. And in the alley, you were overly protective of her. You want to keep her safe. Why? You lost someone too. Several people, I believe. And you don't want her to meet the same fate. But you love her too, I think. You are more guarded but... Yes, you keep on eyeing that gap between you. And when you were holding her hand earlier, you let go as soon as I mentioned it. You're scared. Ooh, that is interesting. There are secrets. Many secrets in your eyes. And you're scared of her finding them out. You're scared of losing her.
"You haven't admitted it to each other yet, I don't think you will for a long time... Maybe not until some traumatic experience which I'm sure will come eventually. You have seen war before, have you not? Oh, don't look at me like that, Doctor. You both know all of this is true. Now kiss already, be done with it, and you can leave."
Sherlock clapped his hands and leaned back in his chair.
"Isn't love amusing, John?"
Clara sat still, clutching her teacup with tense fingers, and staring at Sherlock. She could see the Doctor flicking his eyes wildly from her to the dark-haired man, but still she glared ahead.
"Sherlock that was... He's sorry. Really, he is," John apologized.
"Enough with the apologies, John, I have not done anything but get these two to stop yelling out their attraction to whoever cares to listen."
"You're just annoyed by her putting you in your place."
Sherlock sighed distractedly, and said, "Alright. Tea's over. I have better things to do. Now get out."
Beside Clara, the Doctor worked his mouth silently before standing up.
"You know what to do if you see anymore of the Silence, then?" he asked quietly.
"Yes, yes, I have a marker and a gun. Now, did I ask you to leave?"
Clara walked out a little dazedly behind the Doctor, and neither of them said goodbye.
They walked alone down the stairs and out the door, then around the block to where the TARDIS was parked, metres away from a crime scene.
The Doctor strode ahead of her, she couldn't see his face, and he didn't make a sound, didn't even glance back at her.
And she followed, her mind rushing like a raging rapid, trying to keep her thoughts steady.
Sherlock would not have been wrong. He had deduced all that about her, and it was true, however much she may deny it, so what about the things he said about the Doctor? They must have been true, too.
But did she want them to be?
They slipped carefully around the mess of police tape and serious looking officials in the alleyway, then turned the corner to where the TARDIS sat waiting.
The Doctor paused, his hand on the door, his shoulders hunched, for half a second, before striding through the doors. He didn't even look back to see if Clara was behind him.
She stood awkwardly along the railing as he fiddled with the knobs and levers of the console, stepping around the control room with none of his usual clumsy fervour.
And then he just stopped. He stopped and stood, leaning his forearms against the console, and glaring at his hands.
And there was silence.
"I'm sorry," he whispered, but it sounded like it was directed to the air before him instead of to her.
"I'm not," Clara replied, and her voice was stronger than she thought it would be. She hadn't intended to respond at all. All the deepest thoughts that lay between them had been unearthed by a complete stranger, quite harshly and without empathy.
She didn't know what she was going to do.
And so when he turned to face her, she didn't look away. When he stepped forward, she didn't move. When he brought up a shaking hand to rest it on her neck, she didn't flinch.
"Is it true?"
"You heard what he said, didn't you?" It came out much quicker and with more fire than she meant it to, and the Doctor closed his eyes for a moment.
"It was true. All of what he said about me...that was true."
Clara felt like this moment was melting, like she could barely get a hold on it. It was all just so fast and silly and unbelievable and wanted and unwanted that none of it could possibly be happening.
Standing before her was a thousand plus year old man, who had experienced things beyond her threshold of emotion. And right now, his ancient eyes were not bright and fiery and guarded as they usually were. They were afraid.
"Tell me it's true. Please. I don't-I can't...I can't lose..." He ran his other hand though his hair before placing it on her cheek. It felt like those two warm hands on her face were grounding her, pleading her, and she couldn't move, she couldn't...
"It was true."
The fear in his eyes receded, just a little, but she saw that a single, glistening tear had escaped him, and was tracking down his cheek.
"You know what?" Clara said lightly. Damn the trick. Damn Sherlock. Damn everything. Does anything really matter anymore?
"What?" the Doctor asked, eyes searching her for something, something she didn't know.
And she rose up on her toes, brought her hands up around the Doctor's arms, pulled his head down, and kissed him.
He was still, for just a moment, a fearful, shadowed moment, before he curled his fingers around her neck and softly, slowly, kissed her back.
And while neither of them were certain, neither of them were without secrets, neither of them were without scars, neither of them were afraid.
And at the back of her mind, a tiny little, untouched corner, Clara Oswald thanked Sherlock Holmes.