The Doctor watches from a doorway, observing the alien that is now dancing around the central console of the TARDIS. Its claws clatter and catch on the metal grating as it glides and leaps, the movements confined by the railing surrounding the platform. Arms flutter gracefully into their final position and he waits for a moment before bursting into applause.
"That was marvellous! Not that I know much about dancing, can only just manage not tripping over my own toes, but that was five star dancing what you just did," he says as he walks over to it, the alien blushing at his words or at least he assumed it was blushing as it quickly bowed its head and covered its cheeks with its hands.
"The floor here can't be much good for dancing though," the Doctor continues, nodding towards the floor and the alien's clawed feet, "though I suppose you won't be around much longer." He turns towards the console, beginning to program in the next location.
"You belong in the Passerine system, right? Shouldn't be too long a journey. We'll be able to get you home in–"
He is cut off by a rough squawk behind him and the alien, 'Themadera' he thinks, is looking at him with giant, dark scared eyes. His face immediately falls into an expression of apology. "I'm sorry, I should've know you were a Themadera. That's why you were there, in the palace; you were sold off, weren't you?"
He gets a nod in response and he can see the scar tissue amongst the pink and brown down of her throat where the white tuft would have been if she were a fully voiced Themaderan.
He should have known, as the Doctor, that a Passeriforme held captive, that could dance so well would be a Themadera – a species that cruelly took away either the ability to move or speak from its own members in the name of attaining artistic perfection.
The Doctor moves towards her, grasping her hands and kneeling so he can look up at her bowed face.
"I'm so, so sorry. I should have realised and never have mentioned returning you home. You would've just gotten sold again and that wouldn't have made anything better." He grips her fingers tighter and sees her expression relax slightly.
"I'll make it up to you. We won't go any closer to that system than we are now. Instead, how about we go to New Moscow and see if they have an opening?" Her eyes begin to shine hopefully and the Doctor knows that he's now doing the right thing.
"Would you like that?" he asks, and receives another nod, although this time her eyes are bright with joy. He's jumped up to his feet now, practically bouncing at the thought of the beautiful creature in front of him dancing in one of the spectacular theatres, dancing because she wants to.
Excited at this idea, he drops her hands, dashing around the central console and madly pushing and pulling buttons here and there in a vain attempt to get them there faster.
The Doctor continues babbling, "They should be accepting other species now. In fact, it's probably exactly the right time to go there, since they're now warming up after the last big freeze and they're constructing the most fantastic buildings–" he pauses midstream and turns to look at her, anxiously watching his frenzied activity.
"What's your name?" he asks, and, when he receives a puzzled tilt of the head, clarifies, "So I know what name on the playbills I'm supposed to be looking for in a couple years time."
The gratitude radiating off her is so intense that the croak of her voice doesn't matter as she replies, "Clara. My name is Clara."