Title: The Trap
Characters, 11th Doctor, Clara, the TARDIS
Spoiler warning: Spoilers for "The Bells of St John" and "Hide"
Note: This was inspired by a speculation post I made to the Doctor Who Livejournal community (doctorwho.livejournal.com) on April 22nd. Also, it assumes knowledge of Season 7 up through "Hide."
It started with occasional wary glances, as if the Doctor didn't trust her. Then the Doctor began asking questions about things that hadn't happened.
"What did you say?" he would ask.
"Nothing!" Clara would say. She hadn't said anything.
"Don't touch that!" he would say, when she hadn't touched anything.
Although he smiled when she was watching, sometimes when she pretended to look away he fixed her with such an intent gaze she was afraid of him.
"Doctor," she complained, "You look at me as if you don't even know me!"
"Maybe I don't," he said coldly.
Then one day they were both in the console room, and she had touched a button to display the south viewer.
"Don't touch that!" he yelled, and roughly pushed her hand away.
"What?" she asked. "It's just a viewer."
"Don't lie to me," he said. "Leave. Now. Leave the room."
He began talking to the TARDIS in her presence. "It's okay, old girl, I won't let anyone hurt you." And he would glare at Clara. "Not anyone."
It was worst when they were in the console room. When they were other places, like the TARDIS jogging track or the kitchen, he seemed to relax. But every now and then, she would have a lapse. It was as if she had skipped ahead in time, only for moments, but enough to notice. Like the time she asked about his granddaughter and he told her about a woman named Jo, and she asked, "But what about your granddaughter?"
"Weren't you listening?" he asked.
"Of course I was listening!" Clara huffed.
And then she had lapses in space as well as in time. She was in the TARDIS library, looking at books, and then she was walking down the hall with the Doctor.
"Does the TARDIS ever mess with people?" Clara asked. "Move them around, things like that?"
"Only with people who aim to do her harm," replied the Doctor. He looked at her coldly. "You don't aim to do her harm, do you?"
The next time it happened, the Doctor was teaching her to make souffles. (Clara's grandmother had taught her, but they always burned. Every time.) One moment she was watching the Doctor bend over to pull the souffles out of the oven, and the next minute she was standing next to the console pressing a button and the ship was making the same klaxon sound it had made when the Doctor was lost in the pocket universe. The Doctor ran into the room.
"Step AWAY from the console!" he shouted wildly.
"But . . . but . . ." said Clara, disoriented. The Doctor took her by the arm and pulled her over to the farthest wall of the room. "Stay!" he ordered. He pointed his screwdriver at her, but then muttered to himself, "No, no, it's a screwdriver. Those don't work on people. If she is people."
"She did it . . ." said Clara, pointing to the TARDIS console.
"Tell me. Tell me what you've done to her," he said, as the klaxon continued to sound. "No, that's not an answer. Don't lie to me. I know the difference between the viewer and the navigation controls. Yes, you have flown her before, of course you have."
"Doctor, slow down, I don't know what you're talking about!" said Clara. She was sitting. Why was she sitting? "Doctor, why am I sitting in a chair?"
He smacked his head. "Of course! I'm so thick! It's the wifi! Oh, Clara. All those times you were looking at me with malice in your eyes, all those times you lied to me, it wasn't you."
"I never lied to you!" Clara said indignantly.
"No, you didn't. I see that now. But something did. Something inside you, using your body and your voice, and looking out through your eyes with pure hatred. And you didn't remember it, of course you didn't."
Clara shuddered. What was he saying? That she wasn't herself?
"I had lapses, Doctor," she said. "I thought it was the TARDIS."
"No, no, no, not her, not the old girl. It's just like when the wifi was controlling those people. But there's no wifi in the TARDIS. Clara, when you were downloaded back out of the wifi, I think you brought something with you. And that something has done . . . what has it done?"
The TARDIS klaxon was still sounding. Clara was chilled to the bone. "Doctor, we're landing. Where are we landing?"
Then she was standing next to him at the console, watching the TARDIS door open.
"Of course," he said. "The one place I must never go."