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Ghost Girl

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"This isn't a ghost story, it's a love story."

Clara is not a ghost. Once, when she was four years old, she spent a week running about with a bedsheet over her head shouting "Woo!" to her mum, but Mum just said she wasn't allowed to watch any more Scooby-Doo cartoons. Dad said real ghosts didn't wear Little Mermaid bedsheets on their heads. Clara gave up on being a ghost.

She watches him at the TARDIS controls. Underneath the mania, she sees a thin crackle of terror peeping through every mad word, every rubbery expression. The Doctor isn't her boyfriend. She's not sure he's her friend. Today he is looking past her, through her. She's tempted to shout, "Woo!" simply to attract his attention back to the person in front of him.

She isn't a ghost. This isn't a ghost story. She doesn't know if his words imply she's in the other story.

Love. Heart-fluttering and terrifying. She thinks he does like her. She's sure he finds her attractive. Rather than dwell on the possibility of romance, Clara focuses on the elegance of his hands massaging the switches. The TARDIS is his true love; that's as plain to see as his chin.

---

Angie knocks on the door but doesn't wait for an invitation. "You in?"

"Obviously." Clara has a book open. She can't remember what she was reading.

"Is your boyfriend coming today?"

No amount of protests will budge Angie from her belief that Clara pops off every Wednesday to snog the Doctor senseless. "It's Saturday."

"Why doesn't he ever ask you out on weekends?"

"I'm busy. Wednesday's my day off."

"I bet he's married, really." She turns on one trainer and leaves the room before Clara can argue. It's her newest technique, picked up at school. Clara remembers being this age. It'll pass.

---

She flies apart. She's a ghost. She's less than a ghost. Clara Oswin Oswald stops existing. Claras and Oswins and Oswalds exist everywhere, everywhen. Splinters overlap, spending their lives ignorant of one another.

On Skaro, Ossie is a Thal who dies in the last great battle.

In Florence, Chiara the servant fights off Captain Tancredi, and dies with her discovery that Scaroth is the only being throughout history who might have understood her.

She dies. She dies. She leaves behind her ghost after ghost, echo after echo. Clara is all ghosts.

She can choose to stop. She chooses not to stop. She loves him. She loves him like a friend, like a hero. She loves him as a man who looks through her to love another.

But he's wrong. This isn't a love story. It's always been a ghost story.

Somewhere inside the splintered shards of herself, Clara shouts out, "Woo!"