Summary:The 12th Doctor goes to his Ponds when he leaves Clara to choose his new outfit.
Notes: Fair warning, the pain meds are still muddling things on my part, but I think this makes sense, or I hope it does, though I probably should've sent it to be beta'd at the end, but I wanted to get it out before the new episode aired, so there probably are mistakes and things that make no sense, because it takes me thrice as long to concentrate & write at the moment, & it's really hard, but I'll fix it when I'm clearer-headed if it needs it...
Anyway, this is my response to Deep Breath, so SPOILER WARNING if you've yet to see it from here on out.
What made absolutely no sense to me the entire episode of Capaldi's debut (he's amazing, by the way), is that Clara is the one companion out of all of them who had no right to be affected by a new Doctor's face, because she's seen them all, & at the very least 3 that she absolutely remembers. So, she, in my opinion, shouldn't have needed the big adjustment period & especially that phone call from the previous Doctor, which no other companion ever got who hadn't seen multiple forms of him already, that undermined the rest of the "accept me as the Doctor" episode. Amendment to this: I understand the whole "companion is the audience" sentimentality, I just think in this case, Clara should've been the one convincing the Paternoster Gang he was still the same man, using their own lives as parallels, as opposed to them needing to convince her. That said, it's done, whatever, moving on.
Here's a bit of Pond/12 fluff, where he chooses his new outfit. Yes, I know he said goodbye to Amy in Time of the Doctor, but just enjoy the story. Parts of the end dialogue are purposely left speaker-less, because I believe it doesn't matter who says it, they all would or could & you could choose. And again, ignore the medicated rambling of the author, & enjoy. Ooh, and review, if you'd like.
The TARDIS landed noisily as she always did, right into River's back garden.
Amy and Rory were in the house, River busy erecting a statue she… acquired from one of her dig sites, when she looked up at the blue box, smiling widely as the doors opened and her husband stepped out.
"River!" he shouted, "I don't know if I should do, but I just had to come see you."
The Ponds paused, startled to hear, instead of the excited, childish rambling of their Raggedy Man, a rough Scottish voice filled with confusion and gravity. They looked at one another, meeting each other's eyes and backing up into the house before they were spotted.
"And you two! I know you're there, don't bother hiding," the tall man with the slight air of danger about him demanded. They walked out cautiously, taking in his appearance.
River simply walked up to him, cupping his face as she stared lovingly into his eyes, measuring his timeline, before smiling and kissing him deeply on the lips. He seemed a bit stunned when she pulled back, as her eyes raked over him.
"Sweetie! What are you wearing?" she asked, a little surprised.
"Clothes. I got them from... somewhere. Not completely sure where yet. There was a sexy dinosaur there, though. Don't worry, I didn't flirt. Don't do that anymore," he said with a dismissive wave of his hand, still staring at his wife as though she would disappear if he let her out of his sight for a moment, relieved that she spared this new old face no second glance. He needed someone like that at the moment.
She took no notice of his gaze, more interested in his current fashion statement. Or lack thereof.
"Well, not with anyone else, you mean," River teased, finally meeting his eyes with the twinkle in her own.
"Wow. Is that... you?" Amy asked, incredulously, as she and Rory set eyes upon the new man for the first time.
He turned, his hearts overjoyed at seeing his Ponds once more. Then he held his breath, apprehensive that the their reactions would match Clara's. He didn't think he could take all of them looking at him differently.
There was a long moment, while both Amy and Rory inspected him, walking around him like one would his TARDIS, checking to make sure they could really believe their eyes.
Just when he thought he would go mad from their silent scrutiny, Rory spoke up.
"So. Smaller chin this go round then? And you took the age up, too."
"I like the eyes," Amy insisted. "Our Raggedy Man's got eyes that say, 'hey, let's go to the circus!' Now your eyes say, 'hey, let's go run away with the circus.' Is that who you are now? The run away with the circus man?"
"I'm not sure," he said, a small hitch in his throat at their easy acceptance of him. "Haven't completely figured that part out yet."
"Well, I think it's the clothes. The last time we saw you like this, you couldn't properly concentrate until you'd gotten the clothes right. When you decided bowties were cool," moaned Amy, crossing her arms and fondly rolling her eyes with a smile.
"They were cool," he insisted, still slightly confused as he tried to remember why.
"Hmm. Well, I'll definitely volunteer to help you change, my love," River offered huskily, smirking at his lack of fluster.
"Right," he said, heading back into his TARDIS. "Ponds, you two stay here. River- no spoilers, but help me find...me."
Three minutes later, River came out with a sly grin on her face as the Ponds, who had decided to treat this like a proper fashion show & therefore were sat in some chairs facing the doors, anticipated their friend's new wardrobe. He came out and twirled as he tried to show off his outfit, slightly blanching at the grey suit he was currently sporting, awkwardly twisting his head as he adjusted the striped tie and the neck of his white striped shirt.
"Not... me," he said disappointedly, adjusting the spectacles currently perched on his nose.
"Hmm," commented Amy. "I think you're right. You look like a civil servant- not really, you know... the Oncoming Storm," she maintained thoughtfully. Rory nodded his agreement.
"Back to it, my love," declared River, gently turning the pensive Time Lord back into the TARDIS.
The next time he came out, Rory snorted while Amy passed River a sympathetic look, before she shook her head at the alien man.
"Are you planning on still being able to run in that thing? Heavy leather tunic like that and- is that cloak velvet?"
"Are you some sort of weird... bishop now?" asked Rory, shaking his head whilst trying to support his friend, albeit unsuccessfully.
"No... I don't think so," replied the Time Lord innocently, gazing down in wonder at the fairly impractical, archaic, cardinally getup.
He looked up at River questioningly, and she smiled softly at him, leading him back into his ship to try again.
"Eh," Rory spoke up as he emerged once more in a different suit, "classier, but it screams more 'volatile politician' or something rather than 'trust me.'"
Amy nodded her agreement, noting his penchant for suits, it seemed. Believing this trend was set, River sat next to her parents, awaiting her husband's next efforts.
"NO! Absolutely not!" three Ponds screamed when the now-enthusiastic alien ran out donning what appeared to be a Roman toga, holding his arms out proudly in display before deflating and turning somewhat dejectedly back to the TARDIS.
River rolled her eyes, crossing her arms as she looked at her mum and dad, who smiled in understanding at their ridiculous Time Lord adjusting to his new self. Then River's eyes widened as she looked behind them, her grin turning into a smirk as her voice lowered sultrily.
"Hello Sweetie," she purred, a satisfied and flirtatious expression coming to her face.
Amy and Rory turned, before Amy whistled and Rory clapped once, all three taking in the grinning man, who turned, showing off the fitted dark blue suit with a red lining and a simple white shirt.
"No tie, then?" asked Amy, still smiling at her friend.
"No," he shook his head, confident for the first time since he'd landed. He put his hands in his pockets, standing tall and self-assured and looking every bit the same as the man they knew and loved
"There you are, Doctor," said Amy in approval, she and Rory both nodding their heads at the man who'd finally "found himself."
He chuckled sadly, looking away in thought.
"What is it?"
"You called me Doctor."
"You are the Doctor."
"I know, I just... wasn't sure you would still..."
"Oh, you daft man. You just look a bit different."
"I do! Look at me, I've gone gray!" he exclaimed, pulling at his hair in demonstration.
"Distinguished," argued River flirtatiously, always pleased with the very unmistakeable him-ness her husband possessed.
"You grew some eyebrows," remarked Amy.
"And you've a different accent," commented Rory.
"But who am I? That's the great question I can't get Clara to answer. I don't think she sees the Doctor anymore."
"You're right here, Doctor. Mad man in a blue box, wandering the universe, thinking he's the most clever man in the room-"
"See? And if this... Clara doesn't know that, then she doesn't know you."
He smiled, looking at his Ponds and basking in their unconditional love and acceptance. Then he leaned forward, kissing Amy and Rory on their heads, before River pulled him down to her for a proper snog on the lips. Then he walked slowly to his ship again, before turning when he'd gotten just inside the door.
"Ponds. Thank you."
"For seeing me."
And with that the Doctor ran off in his TARDIS once more.