Title: Sonic Screwdrivers and Lipstick Author: Idrelle_Miocovani Fandom: Doctor Who Timeframe: Post-Series 7 Genre: drama, some lighthearted humour Characters: The Doctor (11 and soon-to-be Alternative Universe 12), Clara Summary: Clara witnesses the Doctor's regeneration, but is he going to be the same person she's known and loved? Notes: So, I was thinking about the 12th Doctor speculation and the current explosion of questions. "Should the Doctor be a person of colour? Should the Doctor be female? Why does the Doctor keep getting cast as a straight, white man? What should the BBC do? When is it pandering to the fanbase and when it is it not? What happens if the Doctor regenerates into a female Doctor? Why are there so many questions?!" And then I wrote this. Enjoy! --- Sonic Screwdrivers and Lipstick Clara did not stumble when the blinding light erupted. She did not gasp, or grab the console to support herself. She stood there, squinting, one hand held against her brow to shield her eyes as the Doctor began to transform. She was not a stranger to regeneration. She understood the process. She accepted it as a natural part of Time Lord physiology. When the gold lights began flaring under his skin, she had gone to him, embracing this version of him one last time. Though she had seen his multiple faces, when she thought of the Doctor, this was the face that lived in her memory. The keen eyes. The chin. The youth that masked an old soul. Her clever boy. And now it was time to say goodbye. Time to move on. He didn’t like endings, but even he said was ready to move on. “Something new!” he said, right before he had exploded into light. “A surprise. I like surprises. They’re like presents under the Christmas tree, only it’s not Christmas – but the thing is, you never know exactly what you’re going to get. The Christmas presents are wrapped in a box and you don’t know what’s in that box until you open it. You can pick up the box and see how heavy it is. You can shake it and see if anything inside it moves. But all you have are a few clues that can help you guess what’s coming once you open that box. And, and… and sometimes the box tricks you, because the sender knew you were going to pick up the box and shake it, so they purposefully put rocks in it to trick you – and I’ve completely lost track of where I am in this metaphor, haven’t I? Is that why you’re crying?” “Yes,” Clara said. She didn’t look away from him, she didn’t wipe away her tears. She just stood there and smiled. “I’m not going away, I’m just going to be different. I’m still going to be me.” “I know. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to be hard to watch this part of you go.” Then he wrapped an arm around her and fondly kissed her forehead. “Oh, Clara—” And that was it. She didn’t get to hear what he was going to say next. He wrenched away from her, stumbling back in pain, his face contorting. Then he began to glow and the lights beneath his skin exploded, enveloping him in a cloud of regeneration energy. It was painfully beautiful. The lights were like a billion exploding stars, swirling and colliding, and in the middle of it was the Doctor. He didn’t scream, though she knew the process was incredibly painful. He didn’t fall; he remained standing, but only barely as his body began to transform. He raised a hand and, for a moment, it seemed like he was on fire. Clara caught herself as she started forwards. For a moment, her mind had tricked her into thinking the Doctor was actually burning. She couldn’t suppress her instincts to leap forward and try to save him. But she didn’t need to save him, not this time. This time, he was saving himself. So she forced herself to stand still and she pressed a hand to her chest. She could feel her heart thundering beneath her fingers as the face of her friend was erased. The light dimmed momentarily, flared, and then went out. A shadowed figure, much shorter than the previous Doctor’s form had been, stood where the light had been. Clara lowered her hand. She blinked, trying to get her eyes to re-adjust after spending a few minutes staring at the blinding light. “Curious.” The voice was smooth and low, with a certain musicality to its accent. Clara swallowed the lump in her throat. She felt… nervous. She told herself there was no reason to be, but regeneration could be a dodgy process. Who knew how the Doctor would act? For all she knew, he had undergone a radical shift in personality and – Stop being stupid, she thought. He’s still the Doctor, he’s still— She rounded the console and stopped. “Oh,” Clara said. The Doctor grinned. “I know!” “Oh,” Clara said. “Well, that’s unexpected.” The Doctor frowned and pulled on a piece of curly, black hair. “Is there something wrong with the way I look?” “No, not at all!” “I know I’m not ginger. I think, at this point, I’m never going to be ginger, but – ooh! New teeth! Do you see the teeth!” “Yes. Yes I do. You’re showing them to me right now.” “Teeth are always the most exciting part! Though I have a strange feeling that this mouth is vegetarian. Interesting. I wonder what it’s like to have a vegetarian mouth — oh, that’s beautiful!” The Doctor seized Clara’s hands and spun her around – laughing madly, eyes glinting – before kissing her fervently on the cheek. Clara laughed, slightly nervous. “What? What’s beautiful?” “You’re taller than me! It’s been so long since I’ve been short! I’m closer to the ground now – I can see the earth better! All those rocks and ants and dirt and insects—” “I don’t think it works like that—” “—and stones and plants and — oh! Oh.” Clara raised an eyebrow. Maybe the Doctor had finally realized the major change this regeneration had brought. “Ten fingers! What a blessing!” The long, slender, dark fingers were given a kiss and then wiggled excitedly at Clara. “Doctor, aren’t you missing something?” “Missing what? I say enough standing around, I want to go see something new. A new planet for a new face! I don’t even know what that face looks like yet, but I’m feeling like it wants to see Ancient Greece. Or maybe the 64th century. Or maybe the beginning of the universe. What do you say, Clara? Where shall we go?” The Doctor took in a deep breath and spun around. “Look at me! All new and exciting!” “Doctor,” Clara said firmly, “you’ve regenerated into a woman.” The Doctor hovered over the console and flipped a switch. “What does that have anything to do with it? I’ve brought plenty of females to Ancient Greece and they’ve never had a problem.” “That’s not what I meant.” She reached out and grabbed the Doctor’s hand before she could flip another console switch. “Maybe you should slow down and think about things before you dash off.” “Clara,” the Doctor said, “when have I ever slowed down and thought about things? Thinking can happen while you’re dashing around the universe. I’m not going to put myself into a thinking bubble just because I’ve regenerated.” She paused. She frowned. She kicked off her shoes. They flew high in the air and sailed over the bannister. “I may want to change my shirt,” she added. “New Me is a lot smaller than old me.” She looked down at her chest. “And New Me feels a tad loose.” Clara pressed a hand to her forehead. “You’re a woman. I think it probably feels a little different.” “On the contrary,” the Doctor said, stretching her arms above her head, “it doesn’t feel any more different than turning myself human and then back to Time Lord.” She paused. “I did that once. Never again.” She shook her head and continued pulling levers on the TARDIS console. “Doctor—” “Yes, Clara?” “I’m your friend. And I really think it would be a good idea that you take it easy right now—” The Doctor snorted. “Why would I ever want to ‘take it easy’? Do you think I should ‘take it easy’ because of my regeneration? Clara, if you have a problem with it, I can drop you off right now and let you cool off—” “I don’t have a problem with it,” Clara said. She meant it. After the light had faded and she realized the Doctor had regenerated into a woman, she had been shocked. Shocked, because she hadn’t been expecting it. She knew that there was the potential for a Time Lord to regenerate into a Time Lady, but it was fairly rare. When she had asked the Doctor about regeneration, he had mentioned it in passing. But now he was a she and Clara mostly felt confused. A Time Lady Doctor would take some getting used to, but she was still the Doctor. She was still Clara’s friend. The Doctor was still someone Clara cared for deeply, in so many ways that ran deeper than an ordinary friendship. Clara took the Doctor’s hand. “I don’t have a problem with it.” The Doctor’s eyes found hers. “Good,” she said. She whirled around and went back to the console. This new Doctor was certainly light on her feet. She moved like an acrobat, the sagging shirt and coat flying around her new body. “Aha!” the Doctor cried. “I’ve made up my mind! To Ancient Greece!” The TARDIS whirred and made a clunking sound. “Now then, dear,” the Doctor said, patting the console. “Don’t do that. You’re going to have to get used to me just like everyone else.” The TARIDS whirred. “Stop that.” Something on the console fizzed and sparked. “I think the old cow doesn’t agree with you.” “Don’t call her an old cow.” Clara smiled. “Why not? I’ve been calling her that for years, I’m sure she doesn’t mind. It’s my pet name for her.” Sparks flew off the console. “Clara!” “That was definitely a complaint for you, not me!” The TARDIS whirred and moaned. Turbulence rocked the console room. Clara and the Doctor were thrown sideways. Clara grabbed the console, trying to keep herself steady as they were rocketed back and forth. The Doctor tripped over the hem of her coat as she pulled herself around to the opposite side of the console, desperately pushing and pulling on buttons and levers. Suddenly, it stopped. Clara and the Doctor were thrown to the floor. The Doctor laughed. Grinning, she pushed herself to her feet and ran down the ramp towards the doors. “Are you coming?” she asked, holding out a hand. Clara got up and ran to her, taking the proffered hand. Together, they pushed the TARDIS doors open. A snowy, windswept landscape greeted them. “So, not Ancient Greece,” Clara said. “No,” the Doctor said. “Definitely not Ancient Greece.” She licked a finger a stuck it out into the air. “We’re on the south pole of the planet Thesperion III. It’s famous for its zoo of creatures made out of living diamond. Which, I believe, isn’t too far from here.” She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. She opened her eyes and raised an eyebrow. Then, flashing a grin at Clara, she dashed out of the TARDIS, whooping and jumping as she went. The sleeves of her shirt and coat flapped in the breeze. “Go right ahead, Doctor!” Clara called, leaning against the TARDIS doorframe. “Aren’t you coming?” “It’s cold out there! We’ll need coats!” “Who needs coats when you have an adventure wait—” Without warning, the Doctor face planted into the snow. She had tripped over the hems of her pant legs. Clara waited as the Doctor trudged back to the TARDIS. “Shoes would also be a good idea,” she said as she tried to brush the snow off her back. She was soaked. “Something that fits is even better,” Clara said. The Doctor looked longingly at the landscape beyond the TARDIS doors before closing them. “I’m sure I still look dapper in a bow-tie,” she said, “but I think a regeneration calls for something new. Goodbye bow-ties, hello… something else.” Suddenly, she keeled over and fell asleep. Clara looked down. “Why am I not surprised?” Several hours passed during which Clara decided to take matters into her own hands. She half-carried, half-dragged the Doctor to the TARDIS wardrobe (Thank God she’s so small now, Clara thought) and set her haphazardly on a large chair. Then Clara combed the entire wardrobe for any pieces of female clothing she thought would fit. She piled the assortment of shirts, boots, blouses, dresses, leggings and everything between in front of the Doctor. Then she made a cup of tea, sat in a large, over-stuffed chair, and waited for her to wake up. Clara was finishing her second cup of tea when she heard a derisive snort. “I’m not trading in my sonic screwdriver for sonic lipstick, if that’s what you’re thinking.” The Doctor was sitting in the middle of the pile, sorting articles of clothing and throwing them arbitrarily over her shoulder. “I wasn’t thinking that.” “Oh good. Not that there’s anything wrong with lipstick, sonic or otherwise, but my screwdriver is my screwdriver.” She held up a yellow and red dress that looked like it was from the ‘60s. “No. Absolutely not.” Clara raised an eyebrow. “What? Some people can run in dresses. Others can’t. You’re one of the ones who can, I’m one of the ones who can’t.” She sighed. “Believe me, I’ve tried.” Clara twisted her finger around the teacup handle. “So what’s it like?” “What’s what like?” “You know. Being a woman.” The Doctor shot her a confused look. “Why d’you ask that? You’re a female. And very clearly a self-identified woman.” Clara blinked. “Yes,” she said. “I am. And now you’re one.” “I’m a Time Lord, not a woman.” “Sorry,” Clara said. “Time Lady.” “Time Lord,” the Doctor corrected firmly. Clara set down her teacup. “Isn’t there such a thing as a Time Lady?” “Yes,” the Doctor said. She stood up and kicked a pile of clothes out of the way. “There are Time Ladies. I knew one once. She travelled with me for a while. Her name was Romanadvoratrelundar—” “—that’s a mouthful—” “—and I called her Fred.” “Oh. Good nickname.” “I usually called her Romana. Now she was a Time Lady.” “Aren’t you a Time Lady?” Clara asked. “Clara,” the Doctor said firmly, “I’ve already told you, I’m a Time Lord.” “But you’re a woman!” “Yes.” The Doctor sighed. “Really... the one thing that is so disappointing about travelling with humans is how thick your brains are.” She poked Clara in the forehead with the fingers of one hand and stole the tea cup with the other. “Hey!” Clara said as the Doctor drained the teacup. “I have no problem with you being a woman.” The Doctor put down the tea cup. “Much better.” She retrieved the sonic screwdriver from a pocket and tapped it across the palm of her hand. “I could try fiddling with the translation matrix, but I really don’t want to accidentally twist things around so all you hear is Raxacoricofallapatorian. Nasty language. Squelchy. Never liked it.” “What are you going on about?” “The translation matrix,” the Doctor said. “It gets inside your head—” “—and translates, I know. What about it?” “You’re hearing everything I say in English,” the Doctor said. “But while English is a nice enough language, it really doesn’t like my mouth.” She pulled on her cheeks. “So sometimes I speak my native language and the TARDIS does all the work. Thing is, English is… well, it is a silly language.” Clara’s eyes narrowed. “What’s wrong with it? Besides the ten million exceptions to a given rule?” “Your pronouns,” the Doctor said. “I don’t know how you’ve gotten on all these years with only a he and a she and an it. And no one likes the itses of the world. You think English is bad, French is even worse! Why is the table feminine? Is that table particularly woman-ish today? … No one could ever give me a straight answer on that one. I think Louis XIV tried, but it was more out of the need to rise to the challenge than because he actually knew the answer. But then he was king. Kings think they know everything. It’s an involuntary trait in kings.” Clara paused, thinking. “How many pronouns does Gallifreyan have?” “A few. We have different views on gender than most species in the universe.” “Can you tell me?” “Well, there’s a he and a she and a—” The Doctor said several more words, but they came out completely intelligible. Clara stared. “Sorry?” “I said there’s a he and a she and a—” Again, the words were completely intelligible. The Doctor raised an eyebrow. “What are you staring at, Clara? The concept of more than one gender isn’t new, even for humans.” “It’s not translating.” “Oh.” The Doctor raised the sonic screwdriver and bleeped it several times at Clara’s head. She pulled it back and looked at it. “Well, numbskull, it’s got nothing to do with you personally. The English just doesn’t match up with the Gallifreyan.” “… you could teach me how to speak Gallifreyan,” Clara suggested. The Doctor observed her for a moment with a strange look in her dark brown eyes, and then she turned back to investigated the pile of clothes she was so unsystematically sorting. Clara watched, tapping her fingers on the side of her empty teacup. This turn of events was… fascinating. Her dear friend was truly a lot more complicated than she had thought, and it wasn’t just as simple as Time Lord and Time Lady. And the more she thought about it, the more her head started to hurt. Damn it, English, Clara thought. This would be so much easier if your silly structure didn’t keep getting in the way! She looked at the Doctor again. Well, I’m not calling her – him – an “it”, that’s for sure. “You know, I was never a fan of grammar,” Clara said. “It’s such a silly thing.” “Words of wisdom,” the Doctor said, grinning. “Clara, this may be difficult for you to understand—” “Try me.” “—all right.” The Doctor looked Clara dead in the eye. “I’m not human.” “I know.” “I’m from Gallifrey.” “I know.” “So why do you think all this man-woman stuff works the same for me as it does for you? I’m not human. And, just in case I have to remind you, I don’t look human—” “I look Time Lord,” Clara finished. “I know.” She poured herself a third cup of tea. “Now go get dressed, Doctor, so we can go frolic in the snows of the south pole of Thesperion III.” The Doctor stared at her and then bowed with a flourish. Clara settled into her overstuffed armchair and sipped her tea, a tiny smile pulling at the corners of her lips. New Doctor, new everything. It didn’t take long before the Doctor returned. Clara set aside her tea cup and sat up a little straighter in her chair. Her friend had chosen an eclectic assortment of men’s and women’s clothing. A form-fitting white tunic and dark brown vest that had an almost rustic look, as if it came out of a Robin Hood story; dark trousers tucked into study knee-high boots that would be good for running; and a heavy, dark-green overcoat with multiple pockets. Balanced precariously on her head was a brown cap. The Doctor had tied her wealth of curly black hair into a knot at the back of her neck. “What do you think?” the Doctor said. “Honestly? I think you’re channeling Jenny.” “Am I?” The Doctor looked at herself in a mirror. “Ah, well, imitation is the highest form of flattery. That girl has style.” She winked at her reflection. “I like it, Doctor,” Clara said. “Oh, and look! I found jelly babies! Didn’t realize that I’d hidden a stash back there – would you like one?” Clara smiled and took a jelly baby. “I wonder if any of the Thesperion diamond animals would like jelly babies,” the Doctor said as Clara grabbed an overcoat for herself. “I don’t know,” she said. “Let’s find out.” When they left the TARDIS, the Doctor, once again, tackled the sloping, snowy hills of Thesperion III’s south pole. And once again, she fell flat on her face, but she didn’t seem to mind. She gloriously rolled through the snow, almost as if she was giving her new body a test drive. Clara watched, and she couldn’t help but break into a broad smile. She knew nothing had changed, even when, half an hour later, they were trying to fend off eleven sharp-toothed diamond griffins and reverse the network of explosives the zookeepers had laced beneath the zoo in an attempt to destroy the Thesperion III government. They would still see the stars, and new worlds, and they would always, always run and remember. Male or female, the Doctor would always be there, having adventures and saving the universe, and, undoubtedly, forgetting to upgrade the sonic screwdriver to include a setting for wood, and that was what mattered.