Waiting did not sit well with Romana.
Even exhausted as she was — they both were —, she was pacing, striding up to just shy of the spot at the end of the corridor where Leela and Braxiatel had disappeared then turning to head back towards where Narvin stood against the wall, one eye on the same spot and one on her, before wheeling round and starting again.
“Romana.” She looked right past him and turned to begin her circuit again. “Romana.”
She stopped, didn’t turn round. “Oh, what is it, Narvin?”
“You haven’t eaten in thirty spans.”
Now she turned round. “Eaten?” Her mouth twisted. “Our world lies in ruins, Narvin, or haven’t you noticed? We have a chance in a million to save it, and I send others! I should be out there, helping to save my people, instead of...waiting!”
Narvin pushed himself away from the wall, taking a step forward. “They were the ones who could do what needs to be done, and you know that. Your part will come later and you will be of no use to us or Gallifrey if you’ve starved yourself into a coma!”
She was in front of him in a heartsbeat. “Don’t you dare call me useless!”
“Eat then!” He pulled a box from his pocket and thrust it into her hand. “Leela and Braxiatel can't complete the plan alone and Gallifrey will need its President when this is over. Rations,” he added, as she looked down at it.
“Oh.” Romana wrinkled her nose distractingly. “The Smarties.”
He let her obscure reference slide. “I will give you a nine-course banquet once we’re back on Gallifrey, but this is all we have for now. Unless you’d like to move from here?”
The idea was obviously absurd. She stepped back and sat down against the wall, pulling him with her. There was silence as they handed the ration pack back and forth, blindly picking out pills as they stared at the space where Leela and Braxiatel should reappear. Five each satisfied their nutritional requirements: Romana swallowed her last and spoke as Narvin put the depleted pack back away.
“Of course. CIA robes are practical.”
Romana made a noise that could have been derision or grudging acceptance. Probably the former, but he was occupied in closing down his awareness of her body so close to his. Her breaths and his heartbeats sounded loud in the quiet.
He’d been horrified when he realised how his strong feelings for the President had changed — after all, unrequited devotion was more Braxiatel’s style — but millennia of CIA coordinators had done their job to the best of their ability, regardless of any impediments introduced by their various presidents, and Narvin was no different.
“Narvin?” Romana said, what must have been a few microspans later, and tore her gaze from the still empty spot to look at him.
“If this works, I’ll take you up on that dinner.”
The Time Lord respiratory system was advanced, efficient, and could be consciously controlled. Nevertheless, for a moment Narvin believed himself unable to breathe.
“That would be nice,” he managed.
Romana raised an eyebrow mockingly. “I hope so.”
Sitting together under a dark patch of wall where a painting had once hung, watching for the others’ all-important return, Narvin felt her lean ever so slightly into him.