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Good to be Home

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River lay back in her cell with a sigh of satisfaction. It was good to be home.

They'd gone through the ritualistic hand slap, and the "Don't do that again," speech. Really, their hearts weren't in it anymore. They hadn't even raised the alarm. She'd only been gone three hours this time. And they'd learned if they just waited a bit, she'd usually come back on her own.

It was so much more reasonable than calling out the bounty hunters and time agents, only to have her walk in on the meeting.

She sighed and lay back on her bunk, her hands behind her head. The thin mattress felt like the finest eiderdown after the last two months of sleeping in a bag on hard ground.

She ran her hands sybaritically over the clean prison issue sheets. No sand. No sand fleas. An actual pillow that didn't contain her spare clothes and cosmetics.

And it wasn't hot. Nobody really appreciated climate control until they had to do without it.

Even the constant pattering rain and occasional claps of thunder were welcome after the hard soughing wind and snapping tent canvas of the dig.

She stretched and grinned. Her bare skin soaked in the extra humidity like a sponge. It may get annoying later, but right now it was bliss.

Really, Stormcage wasn't that bad. She had her own bed, daily showers, three meals a day that someone else cooked, even if the cooking wasn't the greatest. She'd eaten worse prepared by undergraduates.

And if the guards had to escort her to the showers, well, she liked a little pageantry.

Or if a new prisoner was unimpressed that the murderer of the Doctor was a woman with floomfy hair, that was sorted out quickly enough. They usually avoided her after that. Sometimes she felt like she ought to sell tickets.

In general, she was lucky, Stormcage was run on humanitarian lines, and as long as she didn't start trouble with the other prisoners no one much bothered her. Which was a good thing, because she wasn't exactly sure what the Doctor would do if he thought she was being mistreated.

That's if they survived her response, of course. She'd had enough mistreatment in her life. She didn't have to put up with it any more.

She snuggled her back down into the mattress and listened happily to the springs squeaking.

"Back so soon, Doctor Song?"

She opened her eyes to see one of the guards walking past on patrol. Riot helmet firmly on his head, rifle held alertly but casually, well beyond arm's distance of the bars.

"Good evening, Jeremy. Yes, just a short trip this time." She'd been gone two months.

"Looks like you picked up a tan," he nodded at her arms.

She grinned and didn't move. "It's amazing what they can do with tanning booths these days."

He nodded. "Supper's in half an hour," he reminded her and continued his patrol.

"Good. Remind them I ordered Chardonnay with my hash," she called after him.

She heard his laugh echo back up the corridor.

Ah, it was good to be home.


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