“So, that was Rose Tyler?” Clara fiddled with a knob on the console.
The Doctor’s eyes, which always looked tired from carrying the weight of the universe on his shoulders, softened just a bit. “Yes.”
“Really never thought I’d meet her.”
The Doctor couldn’t stop his tiny grin. “You’re not the only one. As clever as I am...she’s always been… She eats impossible for breakfast.”
“So, you’ve got a whole ready-made family now...wife, two kids...think the TARDIS will put in a picket fence around the console room?”
The Doctor glared at his friend. “Clara, it’s not like that.”
“You won’t have much need for my kickin’ about.”
“What? No. Absolutely not. This isn’t the end for you and me. I suppose...I hoped you and Rose would get along, still travel with us.”
Clara tried for humor, strained as it was. “See, you’re already an ‘us.’”
The Doctor sighed. “She loved her husband. I haven’t been that man in a very, very long time...and...even if…” The Doctor shook himself from his thoughts. “I still have River. Rose and I are just two friends who will do a bit of blundering around through time and space together...same as always.”
Clara forced a laugh and the Doctor gave her a sad smile.
“You know, I wanted to hate her...really, really wanted to. But she had to go and be so bloody nice. I mean, yeah, if you discount mummy wolf and all…”
A tingle of apprehension shot through the Doctor at the comparison of Rose to a wolf. “Why would you say that?”
“Well she practically bit my head off, didn’t she?”
“No, not that. Wolf. Why’d you say ‘wolf?’ The expression is ‘mother bear.’”
“Is it? Does it matter? Wolf. Bear.”
The Doctor stared off into space. Bad Wolf again. Will I ever escape it? Do I want to if it means I get Rose? A feeling of inevitability settled over the Doctor and he sighed. “No, I suppose not.”
Clara stared at him as if trying to solve a riddle. “Right, well, anyway. She apologized and she didn’t need to. I was an absolute cow to her...Did I use the right animal that time?”
The Doctor rolled his eyes, but otherwise ignored Clara’s dig. “Rose is like that. So...human. The best of humanity. She was what I needed right after the war.”
“Just what the Doctor ordered?”
The Doctor laughed and nodded. “So? Will we be seeing each other soon?”
“Or later. Whichever. As long as it’s okay with everyone else. I don’t want to be the fifth wheel. And I know you’re gonna want to spend time getting to know them all again...I mean, can you believe it! Jenny!” Clara beamed a brilliant smile because she truly was happy for her friend.
The Doctor lost some of his typical gruffness. “I...she...was another I thought lost to me forever.”
Clara placed her hand on the Doctor’s arm. “When you’re ready for our next adventure, you know where to find me.” She kissed him on the cheek and made her way to the TARDIS doors. Before leaving, she turned back, and said. “I’ll be waiting.” With that, she spun on her heel and walked out.
Clara popped her head back through the door. “Just don’t make me wait too long. Okay?” With that she dropped a pair of sunglasses over her eyes and strode off into the bright afternoon sunlight.