and then later river went to see her after her adventures with the doctor

Frozen Heart

I purposely spelled certain things wrong because copyright reasons…although this is FF so I don’t know why I was worried.

Written for the jily royalty fest happening thanks to tumblr so have a Frozen crossover AU Romance Party Adventure Thing...whoops who gave me this prompt…

Prince James has an icy secret but so does the fiery Princess Lily…

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Wonders: Whouffaldi Tattoo AU

This got away from me. Inspired by the tumblr post talking about a world where tattoos randomly appear on people’s bodies. M Rated because of implied hanky-panky.

Clara got her first tattoo when her mother died.
She was expecting it. She had known, for what seemed like such a long and too terribly short time at once, that her mum didn’t have long. But she wasn’t prepared all the same for the pain. She was sobbing, holding her mother’s limp hand in her own. Her father had his face buried in the covers of the hospice bed as his own wailing grew louder, and this was agony enough.
Suddenly her back, near her shoulder blade, was burning white hot, like a branding iron had dug in there, marking the torture of that moment. She paid it no mind; she knew what it was. Her father was clutching his chest, where Clara knew a once green and thriving maple tree was shedding its leaves. It was bare now, they learned, many hours later. And across Clara’s back, caught in some invisible breeze, was a single leaf.

Her next tattoo, on the top of her foot, came soon after, when she decided to postpone getting a teaching job to help the Maitlands. It was an hourglass and the sands constantly moved, the top never emptying and the bottom never filling either. Clara understood what it meant. It was the same as her mother’s book, gathering dust, a reminder that her adventures, her dreams, were on hold. Someday time would run out.
And then the Doctor appeared in his Snog Box. The corresponding tattoo came when she was unconscious and he was fiddling around with the bits of junk in the garage. It wasn’t so much a new tattoo as a change. The sands of the hourglass had shifted. Now they were no longer white, but gold, and shone like stars. And the sands didn’t continue to flow down- they moved in loops and swirls amongst the glass, aimlessly, much like the Doctor’s own meanderings. She loved it.

After their first trip in the Tardis, she showed her tattoos to him. A new one had appeared, and she had hopped on one foot about the Tardis as the ring of asteroids appeared around her ankle even as the machine dematerialized from the originals. He was thrilled, of course, satisfied that he had indeed taken her somewhere “awesome”, that it should be so lasting on her little human life.
“And what about you?” She had asked, eyeing this man who was always dressed from bowtie to boots, showing no skin but his face and hands. “Do Time Lords get tattoos too?” His face had closed in then. He muttered something non-committal, then promptly dropped her back home, bidding her farewell till next Wednesday.
She feared he wouldn’t come back. But he did.

It wasn’t until after she saved the Doctor by throwing herself into his timestream that the new tattoo appeared. The pain was- well, it was like she was being ripped apart, which she was. The small of her back was shattering as she fell through The Doctor’s life, splitting into echoes, saving him time and again. Clara hurt so bad, she wanted to die.
But he came back for her, carried her out somehow. It took her several hours to reorient herself, to realize that the world around her belonged to the real Clara, herself, and not the echoes. They were all in her head now, clambering around. Some were more clear than others, but the resounding detail of each half-life was the tattoo that was now taking residence on her lower back.
Or rather, they all had pieces of it; pieces of China that, when assembled, formed a doll with her likeness. Back on the Tardis, the Doctor marveled over the little effigy, running his fingers over the little cracks etched onto the surface (and Clara tried very hard not to slap him for stroking her bare back).
“Amazing, truly incredible,” he murmured wistfully, and Clara wondered for what seemed like the hundredth time if aliens- specifically those from Gallifrey- received tattoos as well.
And then on Christmas she learned that yes, they did. He did.

She only caught a glance- made a point not to glance places- but she was stunned.
His skin was a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns, some delicate, some tribal, some bright blues and reds and some dull grey. It seemed that his face and hands were the only parts of him that had evaded the patterns and motifs.
There were three that stood out most to Clara.
Over his left heart there was a small lake- no, that wasn’t it. It was a little pond, a faded blue-grey, with a swan floating in it aimlessly. And right below that, a dented helmet with a feathery plume. Starting over his other heart, winding around his back, was a river, flowing waters of gold. She understood that one, and her heart ached for him. So many moments, so many losses, etched across his skin, and he bore that burden alone. All those memories.
He sorted out his clothes quickly, and when she turned back round, he was smiling that sad smile of his.
“Perhaps I’ll tell you about them later”, he intoned, fiddling with the console.
But later didn’t come. They were separated. Centuries for him, minutes for her, and she got him back, briefly, only to lose him in a burst of golden light. That was the moment that she realized she loved him, when she was faced with his loss. How typical of her.
The new man appeared, owl eyes and Scottish and cross.
And the spot over her heart burned.

This one was different, the way it appeared. Her mother’s scorched and felt like loss; the hourglass ached with the disappointment of dreams put on a shelf; the rings around her ankle were the hot rush of adventure. But this.
This radiated through her entire body, blazing through every fiber of her being straight to her soul. And the sensation never stopped; it only faded to a peculiar tingle, sometimes sending a warm shiver through her body.
For a while, she didn’t have time to check. They were crashing, then there were dinosaurs, and suddenly they were in Victorian London. With some effort, the Paternoster gang was able to transport him back to their home. With considerably more effort, Madame Vastra coerced the Doctor into the long nighty, allowing him to shoo the three women (and one Strax) out of the room in order for him to change.
Tall as he was, the night shirt only covered a portion of his arms and legs, and Clara was greeted with another surprise: the visible skin was completely unmarked. Where hours- eons- ago he had displayed a collage of images, there was now soft, flawless skin. His tattoos were gone.
It made sense of course. New body, new man. He was a clean slate, literally and figuratively.
But his change was so hard for her to overcome, and Vastra scolded her- to which she scolded right back. A T-rex was ablaze in the heart of London, and once again the Doctor was missing from her sight. When she was finally able to turn in for bed, she was so exhausted that she forgot to inspect her new mark. It wasn’t until the next morning that she finally discovered it.
Clara couldn’t understand how she missed it. It wasn’t just on her chest- it was everywhere. Her body had erupted into constellations. Most of them she recognized- she had seen or visited many of them. There was the Medusa Cascade, here was the moon (Earth’s Moon, that is), that planet there had to be Delphon. Stars and galaxies, planets and supernovas, were all drifting about her skin. The colors were amazing; not just silver and gold, but purple and fiery red, calm blue and vivid orange. Some places were brighter than others, particularly the ones where she had such fond memories. Her face was unmarked, and the stars faded off beyond her elbows.
It was like she and the Doctor- the other Doctor- had switched, blank skin for a masterpiece. It was breathtaking.
But all of this she admired later. It would strike her, much further in the future, how like her that was. All the wonders of this universe were open to her, but what truly captivated her, what always held her attention, was the Doctor.
Because at the epicenter of all of this beauty, directly over her heart, was a complex matrix of circles. They were the only inking on her body that remained still, but somehow were the most intriguing. She couldn’t read them, of course, but instantly Clara understood. Etched onto her heart in the same silver as his hair was the Doctor’s name.
And, once again, she had lost him.

Of course he had her back. Of course he found her. Because no matter whom the Doctor was now, he was her best friend. He was always that.
“I’m not your boyfriend.” Clara ached at those words. The tingling that was becoming familiar very quickly went just a little cold.
Yes. The Doctor was her friend. And she decided that moment not to tell him about the constellations dancing across her form.

In fact, Clara decided to hide her tattoos from everyone from that point. If the Doctor noticed that she stopped showing skin (even when they were trapped on a desert planet), he didn’t comment. Rightly so. They had been traveling with him in this body for a few months now, and surely he had acquired some new images. If he wouldn’t show his, well, she wouldn’t show him hers. New planets and stars appeared as they went along. The moon cracked, and another took its place. They fought, and once again, she was faced with his loss.
She went months without seeing him. Grew close to Danny. The first night they made love, the night he became the first person to see every inch of the cosmos on her skin, was the night she decided to have one last hurrah with the Doctor. She couldn’t let him go that easily.
It was Danny’s idea. He had been tracing her skin, after, occasionally asking a question. Have you seen this star burn? Did you walk on this planet? For some she would only smile. Others she described in detail, how the wind on this planet smelled strangely of strawberries even though the only fruit around was orange and quite deadly for humans, how the water of this ocean was so clear that you could see the homes of the amphibious people hundreds of feet below.
He didn’t believe most of them, Clara could tell. That was fine. She liked having those strange worlds to herself. But she described them all the same, slightly bemused, until-
“And what’s this?” Calloused fingers traced the circles just above her heart, and suddenly she pulled away, closed up.
She lied, of course. It’s nothing. Cosmic mumbo-jumbo, he wouldn’t understand. Danny had frowned at that. He had explained all of his tattoos to her, holding nothing back. He had so many, nearly as many as Clara herself. They were scars for him, battles long won. Fields on fire, men standing at attention. The silhouette of a weeping woman. But nothing would make her talk about them, and though he didn’t understand completely, he knew they were about her Doctor.
“You need to go to him. Give things a happy end.”
But she didn’t want it to end, and so lies, more lies, piling up and building until that terrible day.

Clara told Danny she loved him, and the spot over her other foot was on fire. And the saddest part was, at first she didn’t realize that it burned because of his loss. She wanted to believe it was a sign that maybe, just maybe, things would go right between them.
The little toy soldier marching over her foot mocked her. She was owed better.
She betrayed her Doctor, or intended to. Her face burned with shame, even when he forgave her, even though he tried so hard to give her what she wanted. Clara felt like she didn’t deserve him or his name, the one he kept hidden. She loved him. Hadn’t stopped, had she? From the moment he appeared before her in the aftermath of Trenzalore, he was what she wanted. But she let him down in the worst way. And so she lied again. Let him go home. Let him never know.

The stars faded and grew numb. The sands in her hourglass muddied into a sullen grey, crawling slowly downwards. That was her life for those lonely weeks. The taunting presence of what she once had and never would again kept her from the mirror. She dressed in the dark and dreamed of that which she lost.

In dreams he found her again. When he appeared on her roof she could feel the colors blaze to life across her body, nebulas bursting back into life. It felt so real; holding his hand, running for their lives (again). And she felt the weight of so many years without him, when she was old with countless regrets. It never happened, but she still felt as though she lived an entire life without him.
So when she woke up at last, for real this time, Clara didn’t hesitate to take his hand. Leaned in, kissed his cheek in her excitement and exuberance. He gaped back at her, all owl eyes, and Clara was struck by how similar and utterly different he looked in that moment to the moment she first saw him. The spot over her heart where his name rested tingled again as he smiled at her. There was no confusion, no regret in this moment, as they ran hand in hand to their Tardis, giggling like school children. Once inside he turned to her, looking happier than he had ever been in this form, and grasped her other hand.
“Clara, my Clara. How I missed you.” Her breath caught in her chest as he leaned down and pressed his lips to her forehead, returning that chaste kiss she had given him before. When he pulled back there was a question in his eyes. What are we now? Neither of them really had to ask. They had run away together, left everything else behind.
Clara broke his gaze after a long moment, looked down to the hands that were still entwined with his. A pleasant warmth was encircling her ring finger as a band of silver appeared before her eyes. When she looked back up at him, he was smiling again. The Doctor tilted his head down toward his own hand, which trembled slightly in her own.
Not her boyfriend indeed.

The Tardis had made a new bedroom for the two of them, perhaps as a sign to Clara that she approved, that their little feud had ended. Or maybe it was to keep them from snogging against the console, Clara never could tell with these things. They kissed, against the door, at the foot of the bed, between the removal of clothing. The Doctor’s eyes blazed when he pulled Clara’s nighty over her head, bright blue irises scanning over the stars and planets that he knew by name. For most of them, he had seen their birth and death, but never had they been so beautiful to him. His fingers lingered just above her navel, where she knew Gallifrey turned slowly amongst a sea of stars. His lips brushed across his own name as he whispered hers.
Clara divested him of his coat, then his hoody. He shivered when her hands slipped under his jumper; she could tell he was nervous, self-conscious even. So she kissed him again, reassuringly, since they both seemed to enjoy that so much. Told him they could go slow, if he was uncomfortable. Could even have the Tardis dim the lights, if he didn’t want to be seen just yet. He huffed at that.
“ I’m over 2000 years old, Clara, I’m okay with a little nudity.” Still, his movements were a little jerky as he turned his back to her and pulled the holey jumper off.
She was right; he had acquired some new tattoos during their travels. On his right shoulder was a little bow resting against a quiver of golden arrows; a glowing forest was blooming across his back. She tickled across his ribs, on which were the Tardis’ “round things” and he squirmed, frowning deeply though his eyes were still merry.
Her brow furrowed when she reached his front. It was mostly bare, save over his hearts, where there were two hand prints, solid black in ink. Noticing her confusion, the Doctor simply took his hand in hers.
Immediately, the black morphed into a collage of colors, swirling along the lines in warm reds and purples and blues. When he placed her hand over one, the other went bright gold. Oh. They were her hands, on his hearts. She remarked on how pretty the colors were, trying to keep the real emotion out of her voice. He wasn’t fooled, of course.
“The prints appeared the moment I regenerated,” he murmured gently, pulling her hand to his lips. It happened that way, sometimes. The first face his face saw, it could leave a mark, physically and also somewhere deeper. His previous body had that little pond as its first mark, right after he crashed his Tardis into a little girl’s backyard. The one before that, the “flirty one”, he said with an endearing snort, had a rose, always in bloom. He started to babble about other bodies, other tattoos, until she told him to shut up and pulled him onto the bed. For once he was happy to comply.

Much, much later, after whispered apologies and gentle touches and- as he so eloquently put it- “torrid hanky-panky”, they lay in bed together. Spooning, Clara called it, though the Doctor felt that was a ridiculous term, as they had met spoon-people and he doubted they participated in such activities. She had shushed him again, reaching a hand back to ruffle his hair in a way that both incensed and soothed. He had let it grow out again, and now it stuck out messily from their… vigorous activities, and Clara decided she quite liked this. Laying close in what could be considered a hug (he didn’t really mind, so long as it was with her and she didn’t just jump him, he had confessed), the patterns on their bodies blending together, their left hands entwined and touching where their matching bands were inked. It might be her favorite wonder in the universe, loving this man.
For a girl with galaxies to spare, that was saying a lot.

The Character Development of River Song

Closing Time

(Dedicated to Megan – A slightly belated merry Christmas, dear, I hope you have had a wonderful couple of days!)

I believe that a considerable percentage of the criticism of River Song’s character or storyline is the result of a lack of understanding for her timeline. In particular, allegations with regards to her supposed failure to develop as a character always leave me puzzled, because nothing could be further from the truth. A lot of people fail to consider that we are observing River’s character development out-of-order, with glimpses of her character at different points in time, spanning at least decades for her life. The differences are always notable, even leading some to suggest that Moffat was messing up her characterisation as he went along. In a round-about way, these claims hold a grain of truth: We see River’s devolution, because we see her evolution to the person we met at the Library in series 4, in a primarily backwards manner.

To highlight the character growth which takes place over the course of River’s lifetime, it is useful to look at her appearances from her own perspective, in the order of her timeline and in the context of her life story. The scenes in which River features in Closing Time total to less than three minutes – and yet, as the only glimpse at her life and her character in-between Let’s Kill Hitler and The Wedding of River Song it is quite invaluable to look at it. I will also take the opportunity to talk about River’s choice of career here, because Closing Time is when we see her right at the point at which she becomes Doctor River Song and so it seems fitting.

River in this scene is different than in any other episodes we meet. There is a new-found innocence to River here which we will never truly see again. Even when something spooks her in a nearly-deserted library, she isn’t truly on-guard. When Madame Kovarian approaches her, out of the dark, reciting a poem, River is merely cautious. No guns are drawn, no other preparations made. In fact, the moment Kovarian makes an allusion to the Doctor, the resulting reaction in River is excitement – and when Kovarian mentions River becoming a Doctor of Archaeology, a smile of pride passes River’s face. This is a glimpse of the person River Song might have become if life hadn’t forced her off her chosen track. Unabashedly curious, young, with a yearning for knowledge. A person who jumps at the opportunity to talk about the Doctor, even if it is with a mysterious stranger.

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I won’t say that Doctor Who is perfectly written at all times or that Steven Moffat has never written a bad line. It isn’t and he has.

But my problem is that parts of the fandom seek out negativity in his work in a way that’s gone far beyond what is reasonable. What started as a type of literary analysis has turned into something that willfully ignores traits about Moffat’s characters so that it can make them nothing more than support in negative arguments.

In order to really understand the characters, it involves thinking about the things they say and do.  It means listening to all the character’s lines and the looks on their faces as they speak. 

Rather than saying, “I like/dislike what we’ve been shown so far of Clara’s character, but I wish we saw more into her thoughts and feelings so I could really understand her better. I hope we get more of that in the next series,” some negative blogs say, “Clara is just another one of Moffat’s sexist characters with no motivation and no purpose other than to look good in a skirt.”

If you look beyond the blogs that show nothing but pure hatred for Steven Moffat and actually look at Clara as a character, you will see that she has a lot of motivation for why she does what she does. And you cannot ignore all of that because one time the Doctor made a comment about her skirt, she made a comment suggesting the Tardis was a snog box, and once the camera showed her cleavage.

By calling her nothing but flirty and sassy, you’re reducing a character to nothing more than her sexuality and I find that more unacceptable than writing or directing that can highlight sexuality while still showing a complete character even if sometimes it’s not handled perfectly. Clara has flirted, but she’s not flirty. You cannot define her by single lines in isolation while ignoring everything else about her. 

Looking at her character outside of a few flirty lines, you get a pretty good picture of her background and what makes her tick.

Clara and her mother read a book of places to see throughout her childhood that they dreamed about visiting but had never visited before her death. Once her mother died, Clara was going to travel to all these places on her own after she graduated university, but she went to stay with a family for a week and while she was there, their mother died.  Because Clara related to their loss and because she has a very strong sense of responsibility, she stayed with them and even says that she will stay with them as long as they needed despite her desire to travel and despite their father recognizing that she should move on. Even when he gives her a night off, she chooses to stay in. 

She never regrets her decision to stay with them, but you can see in the Bells of St. John that she also wishes she could travel.  She defensively says she’s still going when the doctor questions it and the bookshelf above her bed is filled with nothing but books about travel and different countries, but she can’t walk out on her responsibilities.  

The Doctor comes along allowing her to spend her week with the children and still travel. Worth noting about this is that she tells him to come back the next day after he asks her to come with him.  She doesn’t make the decision lightly, but when she does you see her clutching the book of places to see with excitement in her eyes. She’s following her dream.

When he says she reminds him of someone else, she makes it very clear that she’s not a stand in for anyone else and she doesn’t want to travel with him if that’s why he wants her there. She’s not going to let him walk all over her.

In the end, she only goes with him on Wednesdays – of course because of time travel, Wednesday could last more than 24 hours for her, but she always comes back to take care of those children on Thursday.

Just from this part of her life we see that Clara puts others above herself, she has a strong work ethic, she likes to be in control of her own life, she’s not impulsive, she has clear goals and dreams, and she thinks through her decisions.  

If you continue through the series, you can see how these character traits are shown, and you can look at how she becomes a school teacher, how she was a nanny, and how she stops to help the little girl in the Rings of Akhatten – she’s always helping children. She’s a very empathetic person to the point where she is self sacrificing –  first for the children she takes care of and later to save the Doctor.

And what does it say about her that she’s constantly trying to cook, but she’s horrible at it?  She’s really, really horrible at it, but she never gives up. Most people would have laughed it off and said, “I can’t cook” at this point.  We’ve never seen her successfully make a souffle. Even her echo burnt the souffle. And that incident with the turkey, she had no idea what she was doing, but she was trying so hard to convince her family that she had a perfect life – a new job as a teacher, a boyfriend, and the capability of cooking Christmas dinner for them all.  The problem is, she had the make up some of those details and she’s panicking at getting Christmas dinner wrong and having no boyfriend to show off. 

She even has been using the Tardis to fix her mistakes rather than accepting them. She is starting to show traits of a perfectionist never giving up, but being faced with the fact that she isn’t perfect and trying to cover it. Later in the episode she says she has a perky personality masking a bossy control freak which has a bit of a negative connotation showing she’s perfectly aware that she is trying too hard to fake a perfect life and mask her insecurities.

It’s not Clara as a character who is lacking in motivation or character traits. What people are likely feeling is the structure of the season – the goal was for fun adventure stories and that, unfortunately, made for a block of episodes in the middle that really weren’t that deep. I quite enjoy a lot of the episodes, but few of the episodes really forced Clara to examine herself – everyone identifies best with a character when the show knocks them down and forces them to climb back up.  Clara hasn’t had an episode that forced her to rethink who she is despite having episodes that build up who she is and where she came from. 

Also remember that Clara has at least an entire series left and Moffat knew this while planning the last series. While it’s easy to want to compare her to all the other companions, we have to remember that her story isn’t even half finished (she hasn’t even been in a full series yet) and all the other stories have been completed. We can’t pass final judgement yet. With the Doctor’s regeneration, everything she knew is going to be completely thrown off and we already know that she’s not the type of character who will take that easily, we’re going to see her with a new potential love interest, and we’re going to see her in her new job as a school teacher.  

There is so much to come that we already know about that it’s hard not to recognize that there is so much yet to see of Clara Oswald and who she will become as she grows because if there’s one thing Moffat loves to do it’s show his characters as they change over time rather than just focusing on a year of their life.  You see River Song go from a mentally abused woman with so very many problems to a woman in control of her own life working as a professor of Archaeology.  You get to see Amy go from an insecure girl waiting for a hero and unable to settle down to a woman who no longer struggles with hero worship, is no longer running from reality, and who goes after what she wants.

In Clara, we have a more interesting case where we were presented with a character who knew who she was and who values being in complete control of her life. Unlike most companions of the past, Clara didn’t start out with an obvious insecurity over her identity, but instead, the show has been revealing bits about her desire to be in control and get everything right that isn’t quite so obvious at first but is actually in almost all of her episodes. And for the first time, the problems with that part of her personality were more obviously being shown in The Time of the Doctor – she struggles to present herself as in complete control even when she’s not and her life isn’t perfect.

In the end, I think the number of blogs that attack moffat’s characters by simplifying them is getting in the way of recognizing the positive things that should be appreciated about Doctor Who and it’s characters. There can be negative aspects to Moffat’s writing without it being all bad. To really come to a good analysis of these characters, you can’t reduce them to a few traits in order to support a single argument. There needs to be room for both Moffat critisism and Moffat appreciation on Tumblr.