Clara fidgeted in the corridor outside the Doctor's cabin, shifting from one foot to another, her silk pyjama legs rustling against each other. She knocked. Waited. Fidgeted some more.
She'd brought the pyjamas from the TARDIS on a whim, never seriously expecting to use them as anything other than sleepwear. To be perfectly honest, they were so slippery she was amazed they stayed on at all – a surprising benefit, considering what she had in mind. But they really would have remained nothing but sleepwear had her travelling companion not set her askew:
To our last hurrah.
Our last, yeah, but I mean, it's not like I'm never going to see you again.
She knocked again. Maybe he'd gone to the loo down the corridor. Maybe he was off investigating something without her, the filthy cheater. Maybe he wasn't interested in what she was selling tonight, even if goodness knows the last one had seemed interested despite Clara having never taken the bait; this one, though, this one was older and cagier (and hadn't she learned that the hard way?), and it was that much more difficult to tell if he was looking at her that way or simply seeing right through her to some part of his ship that needed tending.
Well, she needed tending, too. Especially if this was her last chance to be … tended to.
One more knock. The door swung open so quickly Clara's fist was left dangling in the air.
She nimbly repurposed the fist to aim for the Doctor's tie, tugging at the knot. "So," she said, "last hurrah."
He blinked at her, shook his head briefly, blinked again. By now the tie was undone, and Clara's index finger was circling his collar button. "Clara?" he said.
"Last. Hurrah." Each word emphasised by a clear gaze and a slight nod of her head.
"Oh," he finally replied.
A long pause, long enough for Clara to reach for her own top button, in case the Doctor really was so thick about such things she would have to engage in a more obvious demonstration of what she wanted, possibly involving hand signals and semaphore flags. If only she'd thought to bring a book. He always responded well to books, and who knew what creatively acrobatic techniques he'd pick up given the right text?
In the absence of a book, she could only rely on her words, and her body, and that open, pleading look that seemed to confound him so. And finally, her lips pressed to his neck, as his body stiffened beneath her touch, only relaxing molecule by molecule when she whispered, "Last hurrah. Just tonight, okay?"
"In that case," he eventually said, "come in."
* * *
The collar button took some work, but Clara pried it loose, dragged her finger to the next button, then moved on to the waistcoat. "What do you mean, 'how do I want to do this?' I thought we'd sort of work it out on our own. It's not that complicated, really. Man. Woman. Not so many clothes on. In my experience, things get a bit obvious after that."
"You humans with your courtship rituals and your flower delivery and your handcuffs. Have some pity on a poor alien; it's hard to follow along."
Handcuffs …? No, best not to ask, not if she ever wanted to get to the seduction portion of the evening. Clara pulled the waistcoat down the Doctor's shoulders. "Do you not want to do this? Because you don't sound entirely sure, except that I'm here, in your cabin, in posh silk pyjamas I could never afford on my own, and I know you know why I'm here, and I also feel you should know that I am very deliberately not wearing any knickers."
He shrugged off the waistcoat and tossed it on the fold-down bed. He clasped his hands together at his waist, opened his mouth briefly, closed it again. The hands unclasped, jittered at his sides, clasped once more, and then he scratched his head.
"Is this the part where I'm supposed to kiss you?" he asked.
"How long has it been for you exactly?"
"You don't need the details. Look, do you want me to kiss you, or not?"
"I don't know – are you going to enjoy it, or are you going to keep standing there like you'd rather kiss a Zygon? … again."
"Probably. The first one, that is. Unless you're a Zygon. You're not really a Zygon, are you, Clara? Stick your tongue out, let's see those suckers and venom sacs."
Fine, then, if that was how he wanted to play it: out went the tongue in a sour-faced scowl, then back in just as the Doctor pulled his sonic from his jacket's inner pocket. My God, he'd been serious. "You know," Clara said, "if you'd played your cards right, you wouldn't have needed the sonic to tell whether I've got sucker-tongue. … and that sounded much filthier than I meant it to. Though I suppose …" Eyes flicking to his waist: one button, one zip; she could have those trousers down in a moment if only he'd stop talking and cooperate like a good little seduction target.
The Doctor snatched Clara's hand halfway to his trouser-button. "Hold still, Clara."
"I need to calculate the right angle."
"The right angle?!"
"For this," he said, and pressed her to the cabin wall, four inches to the right of the brass sconce she'd have hit with her head had she gone straight back. He dragged her arms above her head and held them there by the wrists, and his mouth covered hers, far softer than she'd expected for a man of his advanced years, and Clara squeaked in surprise and sighed and sank into the kiss.
She'd wondered what it would be like to kiss him back when he looked younger, wondered what it would be like to kiss him now that he was older, dimly remembered wondering what it would have been like to kiss the others, no matter their apparent age or looks, because each and every one of them had had that same dangerous twinkle in his eye, the same near-total nonchalance about situational danger relative to situational interest. Would he kiss as awkwardly as he moved, all angles and edges? Would a man who never shut up know exactly how to slide his tongue across hers, along her neck, all the way down her body? Would a man terrified of a hug know to touch Clara at her jawline, to cup her breasts, to drag a finger along her curves, her hip, below?
She calculated the answers as they came. Yes to awkwardness in the way he shifted his bony body along hers at the wall, seeking a comfortable position; yes to his tongue, oh, yes, slippery and cool and sweet inside her mouth, his lips and breath warm at her cheek and neckline; yes to those fingers, now free of her wrists and fluttering down Clara's sides like butterflies uncertain where to land, light and teasing when they did. His palm slid across the silk covering her breast, thumb finding a nipple to gently rub until it hardened and Clara moaned into his mouth.
And the other hand, heel dragging along Clara's waist until his fingers found the elastic band of the pyjama bottoms, dipped inside, traced the line of her groin. Clara shifted at the wall, opened her legs, hoped he'd take the hint. Instead, he simply dragged the finger back and forth, each time ending a little lower, until he was tracing the outline of her cunt but still not touching her where she ached.
Men. Stupid men, all of them and too many to boot, and no, don't think of him right now, think of the one you're with instead and that index finger tickling the skin between her legs; how this particular man was capable of reading her mind and yet was deliberately ignoring what she wanted, how maybe what she was going to have to do was take control, it's what she always had to do anyway, and she reached for his hand –
– just as he slid that finger into the slickness below. Clara gasped at first, moaned as he continued, now flicking two fingertips across her clit. Her feet braced flat on the floor save her toes, curled and tense, and good thing there was something to help hold her and her trembling waist and thighs in place, because it wasn't the Doctor, with one hand hard on Clara's breast and the other still stroking her, faster and faster.
The orgasm ripped through her strong and sudden, like a freight train, she thought, giggling through gulping breaths because here she was on an actual train getting fingered by the man she couldn't stop fantasising about even when she was so angry with him she'd sworn never to speak with him again. So, trains, her and him, and what was that other ridiculous train metaphor? The one with the train entering a tunnel? Which technically couldn't happen three light-years between Marianne Majeure and New Asia Minor, but Clara, delightfully dizzy and literally weak-kneed from the lingering buzz between her legs, still stepped out of her pyjama bottoms; she fumbled with the Doctor's zip, tugged it down, tugged harder when it stuck, somehow managed not to break it, dragged his underwear past his erection. With her leg bent at his hip, he could grasp it and push his cock inside her.
It almost worked, Clara on tiptoe, her arms flung round the Doctor's neck to help hold herself up, but the Doctor was awkwardly bent at the knees, and his cock slid all the way out of her and there was a difficult fumble or two to reinsert it. "The bed," he said, breath hot at her collarbone, "wouldn't that be easier?"
Beyond the Doctor, on the opposite end of the cabin, there was a window, and a starscape, deepest black sprinkled with twinkling pinpricks of light. She was on the Orient Express. In space. With an alien. And a dangerous mystery to solve. In space.
"Tell you what," she said, "give me a boost?"
Legs clasped at the Doctor's waist now, him pinning her against the wall with each short thrust, and her hands tangled in that coarse silvery hair of his while she kissed him. Eyes closed at first, savouring the moment; then peeking with one eye at the far-off stars. How could she ever have turned this down? Oh, he'd needed consequences for his arrogance, and she'd needed to be back home, in an environment she could fully control – but space. Cool and distant and desirable and forbidden, just like – well, that was obvious, wasn't it, but she'd broken through that barrier, had her friend's lips tugging at hers and his cock deep inside her, his short moans humming on her skin, his breath hitching as his pace began to stutter.
"Clara," he whispered. "Clara." A sudden lurch against her body, one more jolt to her clit, and maybe she'd have to take care of that herself when she got back to her cabin. Sear this last hurrah into her memory, let it keep her warm after some chilly night of stargazing from her upstairs window. Marianne Majeure and New Asia Minor might not be visible from home, or so she'd been told, at length and with extensive detail about the planetary trade imbalance in some unpronounceable ore, but she could still look at the sky and dream that a dot's steady path across the sky was the light on top of an old police box, and not a passing satellite.
The Doctor collapsed on her, shuddering, and Clara carefully unhooked her legs and dropped her feet to the floor, her thigh muscles aching and calves tingling as circulation returned. Heart pounding loud in her chest, too loud, drums out of sync; the rhythm of three hearts, only one of them human.
The last time she'd feel that, then. The last time his lips would linger at her neck, his cock softening at her thigh, him and her still half-dressed because for once there was no time to waste, no time for a do-over, not if she was going to keep her promises, no matter how much those damned stars sparkled at her from the window, the twinkly little tarts. Calling to her when she was supposed to be detaching, letting go, for various values of "letting go" that included minimally planned seduction.
The Doctor slowly straightened up. "Sorry, hope I didn't crush you there."
"No, no, not at all. It was … it was nice, considering you're not really a hugger."
"Well, this wasn't really 'hugging' so much as –"
She stopped him with a finger at his lips. "Don't. I want to remember you just like this. Half-naked, shagged rotten, and amazingly, blissfully quiet."
He tilted his head at her, a brief nod, and drew back; handed her a flannel from the tiny washbasin for her to clean herself, looking away while she did so. His trousers were still bunched at his ankles, forgotten until he picked up Clara's pyjama bottoms from the floor and nearly tipped over doing so.
"I'm going to –" she began, and the windowful of stars blinked at her, and she was stuck, genuinely stuck, with her hand at her pyjama waist and her mind whirling through the variations of going back to her cabin, dutifully calling Danny and telling him how she didn't miss this at all, not in the least, versus staying, pushing the Doctor onto his narrow bed, straddling him and taking him all over again, as many times as she could until they had to get back to mystery-solving or she had to go home.
Last hurrah. He'd said it, and she'd sworn it to herself, and she should try to keep her promises, shouldn't she? No more lying? Or at least start tapering off? Never mind the blueness of his eyes or the fact that his trouser zip was only halfway up or that she needed confirmation, really she did, that she'd left a purple bite-mark ready to bloom on his neck?
"Well, then," she said, and she was sure, later, that if someone had measured the number of decisions she'd made between the second and third words of her sentence, she'd have set a world record, possibly even a galactic one, "back to my cabin."
He reached for his tie, discarded on the narrow bed, and threaded it round his collar. "I don't want you to think that if you stayed, this would happen again." A loop, a double loop round that, a tug on a new loop. "And I don't want you to think that this only happened because you were leaving."
"All right," she said, staring straight at him. Not at the stars, never at the stars, not anymore. "Why did it happen?"
He shrugged on the waistcoat, pulled his shirt cuffs level, looked straight back at her. "Because I could never hate you."
The cabin tilted crazily – no, no, that was her head, and him doing it in once again. Not now, old man; don't draw me back in, make me question whether these are my choices, or you leaving a breadcrumb trail leading towards what you wanted all along.
"Don't," she said. "Just don't. Don't say things you can't –"
Outside his cabin, she slammed the door behind her and slumped against the wall. Last hurrah, he'd said. And now they both had to mean it. And she would. She would.