“Doctor?” Clara closed the door of the TARDIS behind herself, shrugging off her coat and hanging it in its usual spot as she tried to keep her breathing even and her temper in check. She could see the Time Lord stood at the console, and his refusal to turn around and acknowledge her was... infuriating. Yes, they’d argued. Yes, they’d exchanged heated words, and she might have called him some choice names that she’d picked up from her students. But now she was trying to be the bigger person and make amends, and as for him? Well, apparently he wouldn’t even so much as look at her. She tried not to let her anger flare up once more, calling his name again as she ascended the steps to where he was hunched over the monitor and muttering under his breath.
“You came back,” he said in a cold voice, refusing to look at her as he spoke, and something about his tone made her blood turn to ice in her veins. “You stupid, weak little human. I keep you around for your egomania, you know? And this is not the selfish, impulsive behaviour I wanted when I chose to let you travel with me. Perhaps I should send you back to your miserable little planet. Perhaps I should do away with you all together; strand you somewhere desolate.”
“Doctor?” she swallowed roughly, feeling her heart beginning to pound in response to his cruelty. “What’s-”
He turned to look at her and she gasped as she recognised the look in his eyes. She’d seen that coldness before, and she was on the verge of taking a reflexive step back when his hand shot out and seized her wrist, gripping hard enough to hurt.
"He cares for you,” the Doctor - not the Doctor, she reminded herself; Mr Clever - snarled as she tried to twist away from his grasp. “His concern for you is so touching. I wonder what would happen if I were to hurt that pretty face. If I were to bruise you, or cut you, or maybe take an eye. He loves those eyes of yours. Thinks they’re so... human.”
“You wouldn’t hurt me.”
“Oh, I would. To see him suffer? I very well might. It would be so delicious to watch you squirm for the sake of making him angry. His self-loathing is so preposterously high anyway, to see him go to war with his own self would be... truly something. He’d forget about you, you know? He’d leave you behind as he sought self-punishment. Perhaps I should maim you. I wonder how you’d fare on Earth without your pitiful good looks.”
“You’re him,” Clara tried to sound braver than she felt, but she began to tremble nonetheless. “You’re the dark part of him, but you’re him. And I know you would never hurt me. Either of you.”
“Really,” Clara asserted, her free hand scrabbling across the console outside of his field of vision, searching for something, anything, to use as a weapon. “And I know he wouldn’t want to see me injured.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes,” she breathed, her hands closing around a wrench the Doctor had left out days before, and she mentally steeled herself for what she was about to do. “He wouldn’t.”
She slammed the heavy metal object into the soft muscle of her thigh, letting out a yelp of agony as it made contact. At once the Doctor relinquished his grip on her, and she slid to the floor, tears burning at her eyes as she gritted her teeth and tried not to swear. Unable to stop herself, she let out a single sob, curling in on herself and whimpering.
“Clara?” the Time Lord said, his voice softening at once, and he sank to his knees beside her and reached for her hands. She knew not to trust him. She knew that his voice could be disguised, and she cringed away from his touch “Clara, what...”
Finally looking up at him, she found his eyes clear and concerned, and she knew her Doctor was back. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, swallowing thickly. “I didn’t know how else...”
“I’m so sorry,” he murmured, his hand skimming over the raised lump on her leg where the wrench had connected with her skin. “I’m so, so sorry. Let’s get you to the medbay and get that seen to.”
“Is he going to come back?” Clara asked, as the Time Lord scooped her into his arms and settled her against his chest. “Is... is Mr Clever going to come back? Do I need to start carrying something sharp or heavy?”
“I...” he closed his eyes, but not before she saw the tears welling up there. “I don’t know, and that scares me. Please. Please, just... don’t hurt yourself. Not ever again.”