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alive

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Clara ignored the swarm of students, not bothering to stop the handful she spotted running through the halls. She was in too good a mood.

It was Friday, and for once there wasn’t a massive stack of papers waiting for her on her desk. Just a few left, and once she’d finished those it’d be completely clear and she’d be completely free.

Maybe she’d ring Danny—go do something fun. If he wasn’t swamped, that was. He had just given that exam…

Ah, well.

She hummed as she turned the corner. It’d been a good week. She’d made good progress with Courtney Woods. (Or at least she thought she had.) She’d almost finished grading that last batch of essays. (Only three left.) She and Danny hadn’t fought once. (Not even when she’d slipped up and insulted him again.) And she hadn’t seen hide or hair of the Doctor. (Good riddance.)

She walked past the janitor’s closet—then walked backwards to it. Had she seen—?

She looked through the open door—yes, speak of the devil…

Just standing there, in their stupid bloody suit, holding a stupid bloody blowtorch.

Ahem,” Clara said, biting back a number of unprofessional remarks.

The Doctor jumped. “Clara!”

“What are you doing here?”

“I'm—”

“I told you to never come back.”

“I didn’t know you were still here.”

“Of course I’m still here! I work here!”

“I thought you’d gone home!”

“Classes’ve only just ended. What’s your excuse? Come to lure another alien monster through my school?”

“Come to lure one out!”

“What.”

“There’s one in the plumbing—caretaker reported it to Chatterton, Chatterton reported it to me. Dunno how he got hold of me, it’s been so long—”

“Chatterton?”

“Chesterfield,” they corrected her.

“…You mean Chesterton?”

“That’s what I said.”

She let it go in favor of the more pressing question. “How did the superintendent—”

“We go way back,” they said impatiently. “The point is, I’m just here to get the alien away, then I’ll shove off, all right?”

“All right.” She crossed her arms.

The Doctor shifted uncomfortably. “Aren’t you going to leave?”

“No. My school, I’m helping.”

“Oh, now you—”

“Shut up. What do we need to do?”

Clara’s heart raced as the Doctor outlined the plan, and she felt herself grow tense, ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.

It was the most alive she’d felt all week.