Nardole liked pillow forts. Nardole was a big fan of being comfy in general, and the pillow fort struck him as the height of comfort. He had managed to convince the Doctor of this as well, so at this point the TARDIS was snuggle central. Infinite dimensions meant infinite pillow forts, and by the latest calculations the Doctor had run (don’t ask why he’d run them, he just had, alright?), the TARDIS was now at least 90% pillow fort.
Things were so bad that when Bill asked for a bedroom, the TARDIS had only ended up conjuring up increasingly complex pillow forts, as based on all available evidence, clearly people were most likely to sleep in pillow forts. (In the end, the TARDIS had conjured a room entirely made of Bed, and Bill had said, “Good enough,” and gone about her day).
So, if, as all evidence indicated, the TARDIS was 90% pillow fort, then why couldn’t Nardole find a pillow fort to relax (and quite possibly nap) in? Why had Nardole been wandering around the TARDIS for nearly half an hour, opening doors and finding behind said doors only what appeared to be the same forlorn landscape?
When Nardole had opened the 27th door, behind which was the same landscape, he patted the doorframe gently, said, “Alright, then. I’ll take the hint,” and stepped out onto the proffered field.
He appeared to be on a moor. A very bleak looking moor on a very overcast day. Nardole tightened his orange robe against the wind, digging around in his pocket to find a beanie with a pom-pom on it, and pulling the headwear over his dome. He tended to keep hats around, finding that they were frequently an essential part of being comfy, at least for him. He had long ago found that it was very important to keep your head warm when you, like Nardole, lacked hair.
Nardole turned around a bit, and then set off in a direction picked at random. He had faith that the TARDIS would guide him where he needed to be. She usually did. And sure enough, after crossing the moor for a bit, climbing and cresting a few minor hills (which proved more difficult than he would have expected, the fuzzy slippers complicating things), he spotted a figure in the distance, perched on a stone wall. (Nardole decided to ignore the fact that the existence and location of the stone wall made no sense at all).
“Oh dear,” Nardole mumbled, both to himself and to the TARDIS (and he thought, though perhaps he just imagined it, that the TARDIS responded by leaving the implication of a sound somewhere in the left hemisphere of his brain).
Nardole headed in the direction of the figure, who was undoubtedly the Doctor, taking in the sight of him as he approached. The Doctor was hunched over against the wind, his hair floofing ominously in the breeze. Despite wearing a hoodie, he had not pulled his hood up, which was an infuriating choice that the Doctor seemed to make with some regularity. Really, why wear a hoodie when you weren’t going to use the hood for its purpose? Aesthetic perhaps? Vanity? Or did the Doctor derive some mysterious power from his hair that meant if it was ever contained, then something horrible would happen?
Some mysteries were better left unsolved. (Though, the answer was probably the latter).
Nardole stomped as he got closer towards the Doctor, hoping to not startle him by creeping up on him. Unfortunately, the combination of peat and fuzzy slippers made stomping pointless. Nardole had to resort to splashing in a puddle, which alerted the Doctor to his presence, but also had the unfortunate side effect that his feet were now uncomfortably damp.
The Doctor spun around, stood up, and seemed rather embarrassed. “Who let you in here?”
“It wasn’t locked,” Nardole said. He wasn’t going to mention that all roads seemed to lead to this room at the moment. The TARDIS was a friend; he wasn’t going to get her into trouble like that.
The Doctor scowled. “Yes, but how did you find this?”
“I just did. It looked interesting. Thought I’d take a walk.”
“In fuzzy slippers?”
“They’re comfy,” Nardole said, wiggling his toes inside his slippers, which, truthfully, were no longer comfy, but were now cold and wet. “I think it’s important to be comfy when going for walks.”
“Yes, but there’s other footwear options for that. More practical options. Trainers, for example.”
“Are we talking about shoes to avoid talking about your feelings? Because this strikes me as a very depressing landscape. Very bleak. Very gothic novel.” Nardole paused before bellowing, “HEATHCLIFF!!!!!!!”
“Well, I—I. I just fancied a walk too,” the Doctor said unconvincingly, scuffing the toe of his boot into a bit of peat. It wasn’t a very rewarding experience. The Doctor didn’t manage to dig a hole into the earth. He merely managed to squish a bit of peat.
“Is this a Scottish moor? A brooding moor? An eyebrows moor?” Nardole asked. “See, in this instance, the moor is a metaphor for you.”
“Yes, alright, I had picked up on that,” the Doctor groused. “I suppose—I suppose I do come here when I’m feeling…out of sorts.”
“Sad and lonely.”
“What’s got you down now? Your virtual immortality compared to the mortality of your friends? The responsibilities of saving everyone? The fact that you can’t save everyone? Did you upset Bill?”
“You’re not helping,” the Doctor snapped.
“Sorry,” Nardole said, before stepping very close to the Doctor.
The Doctor didn’t flinch away. They looked at each other for a while, then Nardole simply reached into the Doctor’s coat pocket, rummaged around for a bit, and pulled out a picnic blanket and a tin of ginger biscuits. Nardole pressed the tin into the Doctor’s chest, and the Doctor clutched the tin to himself as he watched Nardole unfold the blanket and set it out on the driest looking bit of the brooding moor that he could find within vision.
“What are you doing,” the Doctor asked, narrowing his eyes.
“Helping,” Nardole offered with a smile, sitting down on the blanket. “Would you like a cuddle?”
The Doctor would very much like a cuddle, but with strict terms and conditions applying. Namely:
- he wouldn’t like a cuddle from just anyone, but Nardole had long been designated as part of the ‘cuddle’ list, for at least the last 19 years, although it had a been a bit harder when was a robot.
- whenever possible, he wanted to be the little spoon. Everyone knew that being the little spoon was vastly superior, safer, and much more comforting. The Doctor had done calculations.
- it was a bit cold on the moors, and although the location fitted with his brooding, and the wind made his hair feel nice, it would perhaps be better to take this elsewhere. Perhaps to one of the pillow forts that seemed to be endlessly multiplying on the TARDIS.
- he must check later if the pillow forts were multiplying by some insidious force. Or if the TARDIS just really liked them too.
- he didn’t want to do sex things. He wasn’t in the mood for sex things.
- kissing wasn’t necessarily a sex thing. And thus, could be negotiable.
- he wasn’t going to do any sleeping.
- (that he would admit to).
- he wasn’t going to ask for a cuddle. Communicating feelings was stupid.
“It’s cold,” the Doctor said.
“I’ll keep you warm,” Nardole promised.
“I don’t want to do sex things,” the Doctor added, slightly suspicious.
“I didn’t mean sex things. My body temperature’s higher than yours.”
“Oh,” the Doctor said, thoughtfully. “That’s right.”
“Plus, I have a fuzzy robe.”
The Doctor squinted, still suspicious.
“It’s really very soft,” Nardole said, untying the tie to the robe, revealing the pajama that matched his pajama bottoms. “We can share.”
The Doctor crossed his arms and huffed theatrically. “Alright. I guess so.”
“You’re welcome,” Nardole said cheerfully. “I suppose you’ll be wanting to be the little spoon?”
The Doctor replied only in bad-natured grumbling noises. Nardole had long become fluent in those and merely helped maneuver the Doctor into little spoon positioning, before snuggling the Doctor up inside his robe.
“If you’re cold,” Nardole asked, carding his fingers through the Doctor’s hair a little, “why don’t you ever wear your hood?”
“The wind’s nice on my hair.”
“Yeah, but it’s not always windy, is it? Sometimes it’s just cold, without any wind.”
“People can use hoods to hide their face,” the Doctor said after a long moment of silence.
Nardole didn’t bother to point out that the Doctor lied a lot, and so should want to hide his face, especially since he had an appallingly bad poker face. Maybe he liked to be honest about his dishonesty. That seemed like something the Doctor would do. Instead Nardole asked, “You gonna eat those biscuits?”
“No,” the Doctor replied. “Do you want them?”
“No. Not at the moment.” Nardole tentatively pressed a kiss to the back of the Doctor’s head. Then to right behind his ear. Then his shoulder.
The Doctor sighed, snuggled in a little bit more, and Nardole took that as permission to press soft kisses to the Doctor’s neck and shoulders until the Doctor’s breathing evened out, indicating he’d gone to sleep.
Nardole smiled into the Doctor’s neck and let himself drift off as well.
The brooding moor had become a napping moor.