"That could have gone better," he says dryly, thumb idly stroking the back of her hand.
"Could’ve been worse," she replies, watching him instead of the building which was so recently in danger of exploding. When that smile touches her lips, the idle stroking becomes an intentional caress. "Shame about your coat."
They hadn’t saved the world, only a town, only a few hundred people out in the boondocks, but that’s not an only. That can never be an only.
He chuckles. "Could have been much worse," he agrees. "Barely singed."
"I’m glad," she says and he thinks she really is. It makes him glad too.
They stand in silence for a moment, waiting for the next word on a hilltop overlooking the fully functioning emergency generator. Three hours ago, he offered her a sweet and received a joyful laugh in return. Two hours ago, a town terrified of the dark was about to lose all sources of light. One hour ago, he was moderately on fire. Now, though, now they’re hand-in-hand under a velvety purple sky. They’ve done well.
"Everybody lives," she adds, which is odd as there wasn’t much danger of immediate death and destruction, only a light-worshiping culture on the verge of plunging into darkness. All the same, it’s the perfect thing to say.
His smile grows as he watches her in the fading light of the sun, in the soft glow of the lamps built into the landscape. He can’t place her time period and he’s not entirely certain what planet she’s from; he makes a mental note to ask later. "It’s wonderful," he admits, leaning towards her.
"Fantastic," she says and then he kisses her, brushes his lips against hers.
She freezes, her tiny startled breath touching his face.
He pulls back and shakes his head. "I shouldn’t have-"
"Yeah you should have," she disagrees and slips her free hand behind his neck. She squeezes his hand, never having let go.
They walk back into town very slowly. Every few steps, he ducks his head to press his lips to hers or she tilts her face up to receive what he’s very willing to give her.
In the center of the town, the crowds recognize them instantly, two bipeds standing out immediately in a society of quadrupeds. The Anlosian people had been in danger of losing their power generator, the machine breaking down and needing repair in spots too small to fit their large, orange-striped bodies. The two bipeds had sought out one another immediately, taking action and working in quick unison, never stopping for introductions or simple greeting, only for exchanging shouts and yelled warnings, calling out readings and turning valves. They’ve simply met, just as they’ve simply started.
He thinks there might not be any stopping and he’s too caught up in all of it to care.
They kiss and the Anlosians cheer, leaving a circle of space around them, a gesture that he tells her in murmurs is respectful. They laugh delightedly and kiss and kiss and kiss, just for the sound of it, for the flood of joy surrounding them. It’s a victory song, it’s a cry of thankfulness and for a moment, their public display of affection isn’t at all sexual.
And then it is.
His tongue brushes her lips and she opens her hot mouth to his, one hand in his hair, the other gripping the back of his frock coat, the cloth more than simply singed in spots. She enters into his mouth, tongue running over teeth, and he wonders for a moment which one of them tastes more like the sweets from his pocket, decides it doesn’t matter. His fingers splayed on her back, he pulls her closer, pulls her against him. She gasps and he chuckles from deep in his throat, a sound that goes unheard in the midst of the Anlosians’ cheering. She grinds into him in retaliation and laughs when it’s his turn to gasp.
"Let’s take this somewhere private, yeah?" she asks, whispering into his ear.
He pauses, uncertain, and she kisses the side of his neck, sucks and nips and tastes. Everyone’s still watching, still cheering. He should stop her, really he should, but after watching her, he’s fairly certain that nothing can stop her today. Or perhaps any day, for that matter.
"I’m not human," he tells her, putting together the signs and assuming she must be. "Is that a problem?"
She returns her lips to his, a gentle touch, feather-light. He hovers on the edge of true contact before giving in, sighing into her mouth, sliding his tongue languidly against hers. Shifting, she presses the inside of her thigh against the outside of his, just a brush, just a hint of movement. His hands press into her back as he breaks the kiss, his eyes tightly shut as his breath hitches. "Is it?" she asks.
"Not a problem at all," he murmurs against her lips and takes her by the hand.
She climbs on top of him as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.
He’s not sure whether to admire her confidence or find fault with her gall. She’s a pleasant lapful – and a handful, and a mouthful – so he goes with the former instead of the latter. When the kiss breaks, he’s laughing, surprise catching up with him as all expectations of her sitting daintily across his lap are blown completely out of the water. They’re both laughing, giddy and exhilarated, chests filled with the bubbly lift only infatuation can bring. Her legs wrapped around his waist, she circles her hips, giggles as he groans at the shifting friction of fabric between them.
"You don’t laugh enough," she says and he wonders how she knows that. "You should."
He looks up at her and decides to give her the best night of her life. "Maybe I will," he says, speaking both to her and to his instinctual arrogance. The arrogance is the only instinctual aspect of himself that carries into this, into the wonderfully primitive play of bodies soon to begin.
His fingertips brush her cheek, her neck, the shell of her ear, all gently, so gently. She shivers, watching him from half-hooded eyes. That’s a positive human signal, he’s almost certain.
His hand trails down her side, stroking her skin though too much cloth. They’re still dressed, still impossibly, completely dressed. Obviously on the same page, she pushes at his frock coat until he cooperates, gets him down to vest and shirt.
Arrogance deserts him, leaves him momentarily floundering in the confusion of what he’s supposed to be doing. Her hand taking his, she guides him to her breast, cups his hand around her and his tongue stalls in her mouth. He pulls back, but she speaks before he can.
"I’ve never done this before," she admits, speaking to his cravat, smoothing his vest over his shoulders. "Never took a bloke to a hotel just to shag him, never hooked up for a one-nighter, never . . . wanted to." She looks into his eyes with something more than lust and part of him wonders who exactly she thinks she’s sleeping with.
"I…" It’s an effort for him; it’s a trial and she knows it instantly, knows it and leans forward and nuzzles his neck. It makes it easier to talk even as it’s harder to think, not looking at her face.
"Yeah?" she asks, breathing him in, shifting her weight on his lap. He rocks up against her through too much cloth, slow and subtle and it makes her sigh.
He does it again, again, still gentle, still controlled until her hand tugging on his hair tells him not to. Or maybe tells him something else entirely. "I don’t often," he tries to say, tries to continue and add more but she already knows he doesn’t mean one-night-stands with random aliens. He can tell, though he’s not sure how he can tell, how she can know. "I haven’t in…"
"Something else you should do more, yeah?" she says, pressing a kiss below his ear.
He relaxes against her slowly and the hand not on her breast bravely ventures towards her shapely bum. Very shapely. "Or someone," he counters after a moment, a playful note reemerging in his voice. It sounds like a flirt, could be, could be more. Maybe she wants it to be more; maybe he should make it more. He wishes he knew what he was doing instead of simply what he wanted to be doing.
She presses against him, her arms around his neck. "Maybe you will," she replies with no shortage of cheek, bringing them back around to the beginnings of their conversation.
"Only maybe?" he asks, asks like he’s joking but his arms give him away, tense and careful and afraid. After their efforts together today, he’s certain this isn’t a trap, that she isn’t. This wasn’t plotted by someone who wants him dead, couldn’t have been. The Master is dead, the Rani imprisoned; he’s having difficulty running though the rest of the list at the moment, but he’s sure enough that this human woman isn’t on it.
It’s half from his time senses and half from his hearts and it’s nigh impossible to doubt someone who believes in him so completely, who immediately and naturally trusts him. Quite the team they were, today.
"Dunno," she replies, grinning at him. "Sort of depends on how naked you’re planning on getting."
"Ah, yes," he says, hands finding the hem of her hoodie. "That would be the natural next step, wouldn’t it?"
She shifts on his lap, her hot weight pressing against the tops of his thighs. "Mm, more or less, yeah."
He steals her mouth for a kiss, unable to resist that smile with her tongue on teasing display. "I vote for more," he murmurs against her lips.
When she smiles again, he can feel it. Nimble fingers toy with the buttons of his vest, undo the first one and pull at the fabric. "I vote for less," she counters.
Such a cheeky little thing he’d found. He’s grinning as he tells her, "I find myself overruled."
"I like you better underruled," she counters with a roll of her hips, with a pleased giggle to his gasp.
"Ah . . ." he says, speaking into her shoulder. "I . . . I might be in favor of it myself."
She grins at him as if he’s just said something completely clever. He hasn’t, not at all, and yet it fails to matter. She’s diving into all of this with an enthusiasm he can’t help but match, couldn’t try to resist.
Something occurs to him. "You haven’t even asked my species," he says, which is less embarrassing then telling her that he never did catch her name.
"Not biologically compatible enough for accidents, yeah?" She asks it as if she’s only checking, like she already knows the answer.
He looks at her curiously, left in wonder at her unlikely mixture of idiocy and trust. "You’re not even going to ask what I am?" he marvels.
She bites her lip, trailing her hands down from his shoulders. Her hands press over his hearts, but she doesn’t so much as blink, only smiles. "Cool skin, two hearts . . . Bet you’re going to say you’re a Time Lord," she teases.
"I am a Time Lord!" he protests.
She only giggles, only beams at him. He’s offended and somewhat confused and then she’s kissing him again. "You’re sweet," she tells him, as if that’s a fair substitution.
He means to try to explain to her, means to let her know how his claim is a statement of reality. He means to. He doesn’t. Not with this delightfully mystifying woman on his lap, not with her pleased kisses taking away his words. Her fingers toy with his cravat and when her expression of intense concentration becomes too much for him, he unties the strip of silk himself, tries to.
"Let me," she tells him, asks him. She explains as he raises an eyebrow, mystifies him once more. "S’like unwrapping a present."
She blushes as she says it, actually blushes. This human woman who has straddled him and begun undressing him with next to no preamble – now she blushes.
"Well then," he says, not knowing what else to say, what else to do besides kiss her.
She divests him of his neckpiece, unbuttons vest and shirt and really, he should be doing something of this sort to her in return. His neglect doesn’t raise comment, doesn’t earn even the slightest rebuke. She pushes his shirt off of his shoulders and he rids himself of it quickly, the sleeves still through his vest.
Her fingers trace over his chest in what feels more like a cursory check than a caress. "You really didn’t get burned," she says and it takes him a moment to realize what she’s talking about. The Anlosian power generator, the fire, his jacket burning; that’s what she means.
There’s a look in her eyes he hasn’t seen in a long time.
"You were worried?" he asks and to his own ears, he sounds surprised.
"Maybe a little," she admits.
"A little?" He’s not sure what he wants her to say, whether he wants confirmation or another one of her teases.
She doesn’t seem to know either. "Mm."
One more question, just one to save the mood. Just one because he might be just a little impressed with her as it is. "Where’d you learn how to use a fire extinguisher like that anyway?"
She grins. "Oh, I know a guy. Amazing what you can do with a fire extinguisher."
A sway of the hips, a squeeze of the legs, and respiratory bypass or no, he nearly chokes on air. "The way you say it, it’s completely filthy."
"You’ve got a dirty mind, s’all," she explains, that tease back in her voice. "An’ I can prove it."
"Really now." He means to sound skeptical, finds himself curious.
She takes her top off, removes her bra.
"Ah," he says and when she laughs, they bounce. "Point taken."
It’s a bit of a blur after that, his mind reaching forwards in time to when he wants to be. They get up so he can readjust the bed, a hotel room built for quadrupeds needing a few tweaks for their comfort. His hands shake on the lever and the mattress crank and he can’t seem to operate even this simple piece of machinery. He wishes he could blame it on lack of light, but no piece of Anlosian architecture will allow for shadow, let alone darkness; there isn’t so much as a light switch.
She saves his ego and gives him the perfect excuse for his inability, wrapping her arms around him from behind, unbuttoning his fly. Her breasts press against his back, her lips teasing his neck. "S’okay," she murmurs. "You can leave it like this. Bed’s flat enough."
"Such impatience," he tries to chastise and then she takes him in hand.
"You’re one to talk," she replies and that’s not fair, that’s really not fair at all. His snappy comebacks refuse to snap. His witty rebuttals have been outwitted.
She strokes him the right way from behind, fingers ghosting then palm sliding, tip to base but not back down, not the way that sends instinctual warning bells blaring in his mind. It’s at one erotic and reassuring, the motion replicating entrance into her again and again, forever without once withdrawing.
His head thrown back, neck too weak to support it, he groans. "You’ve done this before."
She nuzzles at his ear, sounds almost amused. "’M not a virgin, y’know."
"That’s, ah . . . That’s not what I-" He stops her hand, turns in her arms to pointedly tug at the waistband of her jeans. "That’s not what I meant."
"Then what do you mean?" she asks without needing to, that unexpected knowledge of hers behind her eyes. He’d know if she were reading his mind, really, he would and he can’t feel anything of the sort. It seems a pity, seems like it wouldn’t be right to be inside of her body without her inside of his mind. She’s broadcasting familiarity, impossible as it is, and so the mental contact doesn’t seem like too absurd of an idea.
He helps her with her jeans and she shimmies out of them, nearly making him lose his train of thought. "Been with a Time Lord," he says, even though he knows she couldn’t have been. Unbidden, the memory of the Master violating Grace’s mind and mouth rises to the front of his mind. A sudden possessiveness seizes him and he doesn’t so much snog her as lay a frighteningly savage claim.
She melts against him, presses up against him, soft and willing and just a little his. Strange, that she would melt when it’s her who’s burning, human-hot and shivering at his touch. Pulling her back towards the bed, onto the bed, she climbs back onto his lap in a way he wouldn’t mind getting accustomed to.
"Call it a non-linear love story," she tells him, gives him words he can’t hope to process as she takes him inside of her.
His mouth falls open and his head falls back, presses into the pillow. He barely has time to try to cope with his inability to hold her from the inside, his member flaring and swelling and unable to find purchase in her slick heat. His hips rock upwards, desperately pressing him inside of her, and she takes the motions and plays them into a rhythm of her own making.
By the time she lets him speak, he’s nearly forgotten what they were talking about. "Do you have some rule against making sense in bed?" he asks her, dazed, pulling her down by one shoulder for a kiss, his other hand kneading her bum encouragingly. The change of angle puts a tremor into his voice, into her body.
"Only with you," she tells him, putting her hands on either side of his head, locking her arms to look down at him. Her hair falls into his face and he puffs out his cheeks, blowing the strands up playfully, his fingers lightly tracing her sides. She shifts her weight to one arm, tucks her hair behind her ears one-handed. His tempting caress turns into a poke without warning and he grins as she shrieks a laugh, grunts as she collapses on top of him. He rolls them over, careful, so very careful to stay with her, inside of her. He presses his weight down on her, holds her to the bed as if to be absolutely certain she won’t leave before they’re through.
No chance of that. No chance of that at all.
His forehead against hers, his eyes flutter as his breath comes out in small desperate gasps laced with meaning, half-spoken words pressed to her lips. His eyes fall shut and his mouth falls open as she does something strange and new and wonderful and he’s never been so fond of her species. She claims his mouth, taking control of the kiss and so much more with her hand at the base of his neck.
And that’s her making those noises, that’s got to be her making those noises. It couldn’t possibly be him. Not him. His mouth is straying from hers, pressing a kiss below her ear, on her jaw, anywhere he can reach; his cries and gasps are lost in her hair or maybe she can hear him; maybe she can hear the way his murmurs are turning into a broken narrative that means only one thing, only now now now now now oh please let it always be now.
"Oh god, please…" That’s her now, her voice her words her mouth her meaning escaping him. Her legs wrapped around him, she squeezes, clenching as he grinds into her, pulls him in deeper, undulating heat breaking against him in a constant wave. "I’m- I’m… I need- Oh god, Doctor, please!"
"Anything," he murmurs into her collarbone between openmouthed kisses to her skin. "Anything." He flares inside of her as he says it and she grinds her hips against his until his reply is a promise repeated with each movement, until he’s losing himself inside of her, panting and straining and not quite reaching.
She turns his head and he remembers that kissing is good, kissing is very good, all lips and tongue and teeth meeting and sliding and sucking and savoring. Her hand finds his and he entwines their fingers immediately, palm pressed to palm. Feeling each callus, each and every line of her blazing skin with his elevated senses and excited nerves, he gasps or she does. She does, all clenching and squeezing and human-hot in a way he’s never known before and he could forget himself in this, in them. Quite happily, he could do that.
"Together?" he asks between peppering her face with kisses. "Or you -" kiss "- can -" kiss "- yes -" kiss "- you first and I -" kiss "- I watch you." It’s important, suddenly yet infinitely important, the sight of her and him in her, a tiny glimpse of an ephemeral them.
She catches his lips to stop his tongue, guiding his hand down between them. It feels clumsy and awkward, but she doesn’t pull away and he can only be thankful. "Together," she tries to say and can’t quite manage. Maybe he does something right or maybe he does it all wrong, but whatever he’s doing, it barely allows her to speak. Let it be right.
He knows he’s fumbling, knows any human male would have sent her off over the edge by now, but he’s trying and he doesn’t know what he’s looking for, what he’s feeling for. A kiss works for compensation until she cries out, clutching him to her, and he rides out a moment of terror until he can make out what she’s saying, until he realizes that he hasn’t hurt her after all.
Her legs tighten around him and he tells her, his voice a low rumble that sounds nothing like him, "I want to watch."
"Next time," she tells him, a keening cry that only sounds like a promise, only sounds like one because that’s as close as it will ever get.
He wants more than that.
He’s flaring inside her, completely flared inside her when he pulls his lips from her ear, when he looks at her, nearly cross-eyed from being so close, needing to be so close. She might know what she’s said or she might imagine she does or he might be beyond caring. He is, when she looks back at him like that.
Focusing, adapting, learning what she needs as he gives it to her, it fails to be enough and he struggles through the mire of his own mind. They’re hovering on the edge, hanging there together when all he wants is to send her over and follow right after, hand in hand, legs twining and tangling in blankets until there’s no hope of separation ever again. His want for her is as absurd as it is irrational, as irrational as it is beautiful.
"Next time," he repeats. He’s possessive and she’s his because he says so, because he will say so, will always say so and already, he knows she’s the best mistake he’ll ever make. There’s only so long he can keep that in mind, only so long he can pause and dwell before it’s impossible. She’s gazing up at him with dark, wanting eyes and he can’t think, can’t hope to, not when he’s buried inside her and shaking to hold still when all she wants is for him to move with her. He wants that to be all she wants.
It might be. Because he’s a madman, or because she’s abandoning sanity for him or because of the six simple words she breathes to shatter his control in a way no human – no being of any sort has ever been able to before.
"And the time after that, too."
He breaks at the promise in her eyes, in her voice, in the way she holds his head as he bites down where her neck becomes shoulder, bits and licks and sucks and oh yes, this is going to leave a mark. He’s grinding into her, no finesse, no technique, nothing but a claim he’s desperate to make and she’s clutching at him, his back, his neck, clinging to him like there’s nothing else left, like there’s nothing but him, like there’ll never be anything else but him ever again.
She comes with a shout, short fingernails scraping his skin and he tries to watch her face, really he does, he tries yet he can’t, not with her holding him so desperately, not with his face buried in her shoulder, not with her scent flooding his mind. He rocks into her and it’s all enough to send her over again, to take them over together and they’re falling, they’re falling together and it’s the best thing there’s ever been because they could fall forever but they’ve already caught each other.
She’s really quite snuggly. It makes the wait more comfortable, makes him less impatient for her to wake.
Bundled up in the sheets, she cuddles into his side, cheek resting on his shoulder. He’ll be restless soon, knows he will be, but as for now, it’s enough to simply lie there and watch her sleep, listen to her heart beating so slowly, so strongly, listen to her breathing. He finds that her eyebrows don’t match her hair, so much darker that the shoulder-length strands must be dyed. Gently brushing her hair out of her face leads to an exploration of her features, the pads of his fingertips ghosting over the swell of her cheek, the bridge of her nose.
He studies her, studies the way her eyes squeeze shut and her nose scrunches when he comes close to waking her, studies the way her lips quirk as he pets her hair and smoothes it down. He imprints her upon his memory, forges a memory so sharp that time cannot dull it.
And he wonders.
Her eyes open before his patience runs out. She seems almost surprised and he’s suddenly very glad he hasn’t left this bed. She seems like him in this moment, seems and might be. He wants to ask, wants to skip ahead to the question he wants to ask, dreads to ask.
"Hello," she murmurs quietly, a smile touching her lips as she stretches a bit, as she untangles herself from the blankets enough to wrap an arm around him. He burns and she shivers and they both make a noise that ends much better than it started.
"Hello," he replies because that feels like the thing to say. Even at this point, he’s still following her lead and he still doesn’t mind.
"You’re still here," she tells him as if just realizing this fact, smiling through the haze of sleep.
Really, he has no choice but to kiss her.
"Mm, I am," he replies once they’re done, once she’s half on top of him and looking slightly chilled. "Seems a little rude, leaving without a word."
She looks at him seriously, raises herself up on her arms to look at the top of his head. With the view this allows him, he’s not about to complain or question, simply raise his head to kiss and suck languidly at the skin of her chest. He stops what he’s doing when she asks him an unexpected question.
"What colour would you say your hair is?"
He drops his head back onto the pillow to stare up at her. "Pardon?"
"Your hair colour," she repeats, her fingers in said hair. "It’s not all the way brown, not really ginger, sort of reddish . . . Is there a word for that?"
"Chestnut?" he offers, not seeing what this has to do with anything.
She seems to think it relevant, but for what reason, he cannot hope to fathom. "Chestnut and not rude," she concludes, nodding at him as if this is somehow important. "Food and manners."
"You really do have some rule against making sense in bed, don’t you?" he asks her again.
"Only with you," she answers for the second time this night.
They smile at one another and he searches for something to say. In the end, he rolls over to fish for his jacket off the side of the bed. Finding the velvet by touch, he pulls it up, rummages through his favorite pocket.
"Jelly baby?" he offers, holding the white paper bag out to her.
She laughs and takes one. "Post-coital sweets. Now who doesn’t make sense in bed?"
"Still you, I’m afraid," he replies and he has the horrible feeling that he’s already gone and gotten himself attached. "For instance," he adds, watching her carefully as she pops the sweet into her mouth, "I don’t recall telling you my name."
She stops chewing. It’s always a telltale sign, when they stop chewing.
"And you knew I was a Time Lord before I tried to tell you," he continues, doing nothing more than speaking, simply lying where he is and talking to her in a very calm and collected voice. His eyes don’t drift to the mark he’s made where her shoulder meets her neck. They certainly don’t try to wander, not at all. "Not to mention how very much in stride you’re taking our differences in biology."
She moves and he only watches, watches as she swallows, watches as she leans over him and presses a kiss to his lips. There’s no denial; she’s even vaguely flustered now. "You’re right," she says, pulling away: "I don’t make sense out of bed either."
It occurs to him to catch her hand, to stop her, to do something to prevent her leave-taking. It occurs to him, yet he doesn’t move. She dresses and still he simply watches, feels his hearts fall painfully out of sync as she hides herself from him.
She pulls her trainers on and he plays the only card he has, a card still unfamiliar to him. This is a good body, he knows, a body strong and attractive. He uses his face and his arms and this voice which is so much better than his last one, uses them all and still knows he will fail.
"Come with me."
Dispelling the serious mood he’s straining to sustain, she grins slightly, tongue peeking out between her teeth for all of a second. "Thought I already did," she replies, teasing just that little.
"We could do that some more, too," he offers. In reality, he wants to insist upon it. "But I mean that. Come with me." He’s traveled with people who have kept secrets from him, even journeyed with a few supposed to kill him. She’s worth it, he thinks. They fit so well together and she already knows how to use a fire extinguisher.
His words make her pause, draw her back to the bed. He likes to think that’s the reason, likes to think that some of his unseemly influence on this universe is an influence on her.
She cups his cheek in her human-hot hand and kisses him with a sense of finality. "I meant that, too."
He stands, wishes he were taller again. "You’re not going to tell me your name, are you?"
"Not when I’ve already told you," she says and he can’t imagine how that simple contradiction could feel so significant.
"When?" He doesn’t know her time period, but he can guess her planet. He knows a London accent when he hears one, thinks he’s thinking of the right London.
"Not yet," she tells him and something in her eyes tells him that she’s seeing a different face. She turns from him, crosses to the door.
"Will I love you?" he calls after her, jumbling his pronouns as her hand touches the door handle. He can’t think, can’t move, can’t care that all of his clothes are still on the floor.
She smiles at him over her shoulder, bright and shining and mystifying and fantastic. "Don’t you already?"
She walks out of his life and into his future.