Bill’s not usually the jealous type, but if pressed she’d probably have to confess to experiencing a twinge of envy when Lady Lorotaxi – an alien noblewoman they’ve just finished rescuing from some sort of giant, ravenous space-squid, and what even is Bill’s life these days? – plants her hands firmly on the Doctor’s shoulders and snogs him full on the lips. Needless to say, Bill’s envy is directed towards the Doctor because, even with shimmering green skin and more arms than really seem practical, Lady Lorotaxi is hot. The Doctor makes a sort of muffled noise and goes completely still, arms flailed out wildly behind him as if he doesn’t quite know what to do. When Lorotaxi finally pulls away, his eyes are wide with shock.
“Right,” he says faintly, voice hoarse, and Bill’s jealousy promptly vanishes as she tries not to giggle. “We’ll just, ah, be on our way.”
He spins on his heel and sets off briskly towards the TARDIS before anyone can object. Bill shoots a grin and a little wave at Lady Lorotaxi – who sadly does not seem inclined to kiss her – and hurries to catch him up.
“So, does that happen to you a lot?” Bill asks once they’re safely back in the Doctor’s study, each cradling a mug of tea. “Getting snogged by gorgeous women as a thanks for saving their lives.”
The Doctor sets his teacup down gently on the desk, mouth pursing in distaste. “Far more often than I’d like.”
She raises her eyebrows at him. “So, you’re not really a fan of that kind of thing, then?”
“Not so much.”
Bill thinks about that as she takes another sip of her tea.
It’s later – much later, after trips into space that go horribly wrong and creepy aliens that look like mummified monks – that Bill hears Nardole derail an argument he and the Doctor are having with the words, “Yeah, well your wife wouldn’t approve.”
She looks up sharply. “You’re married?”
The Doctor glares at Nardole, before shifting his gaze towards the TARDIS console and busying himself with some of the buttons. “I was.”
There’s a lot to unpack in that statement. Unfortunately Bill’s surprise seems to have temporarily incapacitated her sense of tact.
“Sorry,” she blurts out, unable to stop herself. “You were married to a woman?”
The Doctor looks over at her in confusion. So does Nardole, for that matter.
“Is there something wrong with that?”
Bill blinks. “No, I just… You told me you weren’t a fan of the whole ‘being snogged by gorgeous women’ thing. I kind of assumed it was because you preferred being snogged by gorgeous men.”
A sort of horrified grimace makes its way across the Doctor’s face. “Why would you assume that?!”
“Well, what other options are there?”
He stares at her for moment, then lets out a disappointed sigh and shakes his head. Humans, Bill hears him mutter under his breath as he turns back towards the TARDIS console.
She doesn’t ask him about it again after that, but she does go to a talk at the Students Union entitled ‘Asexuality: Not Everybody’s Doing It.’
She listens to a few people tell their stories and finds herself reassessing the idea that not interested in women must mean interested in men.
TARDIS film nights somehow become a thing, and after lots of less than subtle complaining on Nardole’s part that he never gets to pick the films, Bill and the Doctor eventually agree to let him choose what they watch for a while. After two and a half weeks of nothing but cheesy romcoms Bill thinks she’s beginning to regret that decision, and she’s reasonably certain that the Doctor is close to outright refusing to watch anything else that Nardole picks. Bill has a quiet word, encouraging Nardole to maybe choose something a bit different, something they can all enjoy like a thriller or a sci-fi. Nardole – for reasons probably best kept to himself – decides to interpret this advice as a sign that they should watch Ghost.
Twelve minutes in, Bill decides that watching a sex scene – especially one involving weird erotic pottery, what the hell is that about – with your tutor-cum-space grandad is possibly one of the most awkward things a person can do. Thirteen minutes in, Bill inadvertently glances at the Doctor out of the corner of her eye and realises that he’s even more uncomfortable than she is. Possibly for more than one reason, she thinks, watching him stare fixedly at his own hands.
“Would you mind getting me a drink?” she asks him abruptly. “You still haven’t taught me how to work the weird soda thing in the kitchen yet.”
He blinks at her, before nodding and hopping quickly off the sofa. “Won’t be a moment!”
He’s gone for considerably longer than a moment, but Bill can hardly find it in herself to blame him. When he finally does return he brings Bill a tankard of something blue and frothy and definitely alien – which tastes so good that she practically inhales it – along with a sketchbook and a couple of pencils. He occupies himself with them for the rest of the film and if Bill’s honest, watching his progress is much more interesting than the story that’s taking place on screen.
“I thought we could do When Harry Met Sally next,” says Nardole once the film is finished, and Bill decides enough is enough.
“No. No more films about straight people being in love,” she says firmly. “Next time we’re doing Big Hero 6.”
Nardole huffs and starts up another round of you never let me pick the films but Bill just ignores him and turns to the Doctor. “You’ll like this one. It’s animated and there’s no romance whatsoever. And there’s a friendly robot who looks a bit like a marshmallow.”
The Doctor hums agreeably, not looking up from his drawing. “Sounds good.”
“–and they’re some of the finest pilots in the entire galaxy,” the Doctor is rambling, following Bill around the kitchen as she goes about preparing chips. “Remember that star film you showed me? With the light swords and the tin foil robot?”
“Yeah, that’s the one! It’ll be just like that – they’ve got all sorts of racing, with lots of different types of spaceships. And there’s food stalls from over thirty different planets!”
That actually does sound really cool, but– “Wait, did you say this Saturday?”
“Of course this Saturday.”
Bill looks over at him apologetically. “I’m busy on Saturday.”
“Busy?” the Doctor repeats, as if the concept of Bill being busy hasn’t occurred to him.
“Yeah. It’s Pride this weekend.”
“Oh.” He frowns for a minute, then perks up again. “But I have a time machine. I can pick you up and drop you off within a matter of seconds.”
“Yeah, but that’s not happening. And anyway, since you have a time machine, that also means we could do this trip any other day of the week.”
The Doctor frowns at her again. “But we always go somewhere on Saturdays.”
Bill shrugs. “And we still can. Why don’t you come with me to Pride, instead? The uni’s got a mixed group of staff and students going this year, so you won’t be out of place.”
“You’d like me to come with you?”
She pauses to consider that, having not actually thought about it before. It isn’t as if Moira’s going to turn up, and Bill doesn’t exactly have any other family.
“Yeah,” she realises. “Yeah, I really would.”
Bill’s already been there for a while when the Doctor arrives. He makes his way over to her, looking around curiously at the other members of their group, most of whom are covered in flags and face paint and rainbow themed hats.
“Were you expecting me to dress for the occasion?” he asks her. “Everyone else seems very colourful.”
Bill looks around too, and is struck with an idea. “Come here, then.”
She nabs some of the remaining face paint as he moves a bit closer, dipping her finger in the purple before turning back to the Doctor and drawing a line along his cheek.
“What are you doing to my face?” He seems genuinely puzzled, as if the sea of brightly painted faces around him weren’t enough to help him work it out.
“I’m painting an asexual pride flag on it,” Bill says, swapping from purple to white. The Doctor blinks at her a few times and she belatedly realises she ought to have asked his permission first. “Are you alright with that?”
He coughs a little. “Yes. I suppose that’s okay.”
Bill gives him a searching look. “You sure?”
“Yes.” He smiles warmly at her this time, so Bill smiles right back and carries on painting. By the time the parade sets off, the Doctor has painted a matching rainbow flag on her own cheek.