The sky is overcast tonight, the path dark and unaided by starlight. Once Barbara could have walked this route blindfolded; now her feet falter briefly each time the moon slips behind a patch of clouds.
Still, the excitement hums sweetly through her veins, makes her smile despite herself. Home, something in her cries. Home.
"Two years, and they still haven't fixed that latch," Ian whispers. He sounds disapproving, but pleased as well, as though gratified by the fact that not everything has changed since they went adventuring.
Barbara stifles a laugh and leans past him to push open the offending window. It opens without so much as a creak. A few heartbeats later, she and Ian are inside and staring at what was once Barbara's classroom.
Barbara pulls down the blinds and turns on the light, squinting at the sudden brightness. She looks around, takes in the room. Unfamiliar posters adorn the walls, and a few of the desks look new.
Susan once sat in that chair, she thinks, and smiles bittersweet at the memory.
Barbara moves to her desk, runs a hand over its surface. There is where she accidentally carved a long gash into the wood while she showed off a dagger recently unearthed in the Middle East.
She traces the scarred surface with her fingers until Ian whispers, "Barbara." She turns, arrested by the way he said her name, like he's savoring it.
"Barbara," he says again.
He advances until she's leaning against the desk. The edge of it presses into her back, not enough to be uncomfortable, but enough to heighten her senses, like the way her heart is pounding in her ears, and how the excitement in her veins has been replaced by another emotion entirely. Her stomach twists with anticipation.
"Sir Ian," she replies with a teasing smile. She raises a hand and traces the line of his jaw with her fingertips. His skin is warm and slightly rough against her skin. When she touches the pulse point right under his jaw, Ian's eyes flutter shut.
She kisses him softly at first, tenderly, and then harder, until he groans a little and deepens the kiss. He presses his body into hers, eager and impatient and impossibly Ian.
"I want--" he says into her ear, breathless. "I want--"
"Yes," she says. They've always been good at hearing what's gone unsaid; every last of Ian's ragged breaths is a request, if one knows what to listen for. She drops her hands to his waist and tugs him even closer, until the edge of the desk is digging into her spine with a vengeance and she can feel every shudder running through Ian's frame.
She kisses his lips, his jaw, mouths at the sweat-slick hollow of his neck as he arches against her.
Home, she thinks again. Half-delirious with joy, she laughs into Ian's shoulder as he wraps his arms tightly around her and doesn't let go.