The TARDIS had led her here, woken her up with insistent noises and led her with soft noises and trails of lights, along a circuitous route to this side room. The carpet told her she was in the library, but no part of the library she’d been in before. There was a heavy curtain that ran from floor to ceiling. Clara peeked around its edge and froze in place.
The Doctor was there. He was stretched out on an leather lounge chair, in a little alcove she hadn’t known existed, with the lights low. His jacket was off and his sleeves were rolled up. A glass of something amber was next to him on the floor. Having a relaxing night with a drink and a book, probably. Except that there weren’t any books around, and he was stretched out oddly, legs apart, and he-- He had an erection.
“Oh, Clara,” he said. “Why? How I wish–” And then he cupped himself through his trousers, gripped for a moment, and released.
There was no way he’d just done that. He wasn’t doing that. That wasn’t the kind of thing he did. He couldn’t be.
That was the only excuse Clara had for not bolting out the library right away. That, and the fact that the TARDIS had been at pains to lead her here, to this room with a curtain perfect for hiding behind. An arras, she thought, and had to choke back an almost hysterical bark of laughter.
Hiding behind an arras, watching the Doctor-- Watching him take another drink from his glass, then unbutton his trousers.
He was doing that. He was doing it, and Clara was watching, and she should leave but she couldn’t. She wrapped her arms around herself and stuffed her forefinger into her mouth to ensure she didn’t make any noise and she watched.
He was methodical. Slow. In no hurry. Gray hair above his penis. It looked completely human, to her, an average human penis, on the very alien Doctor. And he was stroking it the way a human man might, thumb on top, fingers below, playing with his own foreskin, cupping his own balls. Making little sounds every now and then. Then he said her name again, and Clara’s heart jumped, but it wasn’t that he knew he was there, it’s that he was thinking about her. While he masturbated.
Because that’s what he was doing. He was doing that, and she was watching, and she really ought to leave. But he was thinking about her and that meant-- Clara shoved that thought away for the moment. Too much to deal with on a night when she was barely coming to grips with the idea that the Doctor needed sex as much as she did.
His pace was faster now and his hips were moving. His breathing had changed. He pushed his shirt up, leaving his stomach bare. Clara bit her fingers. She watched his face, not his hand on his body, watched it flush dark red. And then his head went back, his neck corded with the strain, he made a choked sound, and he was coming quietly, onto his belly. His hand was still now, cupped over himself. His breathing slowed.
Clara let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. She was turned on now, and that was-- that was a revelation.
The Doctor reached down to the floor beside himself and picked up a towel.
“Thanks,” he said, and Clara’s heart leapt into her throat. Then she realized he was talking to the TARDIS. How disturbing was that? The TARDIS watched him masturbating and he didn’t mind. Then it occurred to her that the TARDIS had to know she did it too, and then there was the whole business with the TARDIS leading her here, and oh shit what was going on?
She had an urge to creep away now, back the way she’d came, back to her room where she could pretend none of this had happened, but she was afraid he’d hear her, now that he was not distracted. She’d wait until he left, then run back. He was buttoning his trousers again now. Surely he’d wander back to the console room, acting exactly like nothing had happened. As he surely had to have done many times before.
She wasn’t going to judge. Not her. People who lived in glass houses and all that.
The Doctor had set his clothes to rights. He sat up. His face changed, and he looked impossibly weary for a long moment. Then he straightened his shoulders.
“Clara,” he said. “Please come out. It’s all right.”
Clara froze where she was. If she didn’t move–
“I know you’re there. She told me.”
Clara stepped out. That sinking feeling was her conscience, of course. She’d been pricked with regret before, but now she was utterly ashamed. She ought to have left immediately. Ought not to have violated his privacy like that. She should apologize. Abjectly. What came out of her mouth instead was: “I can explain. The TARDIS, um, there were these lights, and–”
The Doctor shook his head. “I know.”
She got control of her mouth. Say it. “I’m sorry. I violated your privacy. I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault. I made the mistake of talking aloud when I began. She decided to, ah, act. To break the impasse.” The Doctor ran his hand through his hair. “I think she was beginning to find it frustrating.”
“Find what frustrating?”
“I think you know.”
“Yeah. I, um, I do know.”
The Doctor braced his hands on his knees and stood up. He drained the glass and set it back down. He put on his jacket and straightened it. Clara had never realized before how cock-of-the-walk he usually was until she’d seen him when he wasn’t. There was no bounce in him right now; he looked defeated.
Her fault. For watching. Way to go, Oswald.
He said, “What do we do now?”
He was standing before her now, with his head down. Probably feeling like a bit of a fool, if Clara had to guess. She had an idea about what to do to fix it. Did she have the courage?
Yeah. She did.
“Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to take your hand, and we’re going back to my bedroom.” His head came up sharply and he stared at her but said nothing. “And then you’re going to hold me because it’s my turn.”
“Oh?” That was the imp back in his eyes, the spark that was the Doctor.
“And then next time–”
“Next time?” He was grinning now.
“We’ll do it properly.”