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Constellation

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"Name's Doctor. The Doctor."

Once the woman standing behind the high fence in the middle of a vineyard finds the correct entry on the list of guests pinned to her clipboard, she wordlessly points to the Italian villa looming over them. Heading towards the entrance, the Doctor throws a grin over her shoulder.

"Always wanted to say that."

Graham and Yaz exchange an exasperated look, over Ryan's slow smirk. "Wait, does that mean your first name is The?"

"What?" She frowns, pulling a face. "No, it's not."

"I think it is." Ryan argues, strolling passed the unhappy Time Lord who's glaring at him, hands on her hips. "Come on, The. We can't be late, they're waiting for us."

"Tell him to stop." The Doctor turns to her other two companions, throwing her hands in the air.

"I'm not getting involved. Sorry, you're on your own..." Graham starts, shaking his head. "The." He adds under his breath, joining Ryan under the porch. His departure leaves Yaz alone with her friend, pursing her lips in a poor attempt to contain an amused smile.

"It's not funny." Scrunching her nose, she shifts to face the police officer. "See if I ever try to make human pop culture references again."

Looping her arm through the Doctor's, Yaz guides her forwards. "You'll live. Ryan is right, we can't be late."

Ignoring a low mumble about the fictional nature of time, she slides her fingers along the blond's forearm, grabbing her hand in a more comfortable hold. It quiets down the alien's protest, at least until they reach the front door and Ryan looks back, an infuriating smirk still clinging to his lips.

"Just knock." The Doctor sighs, bouncing on the ball of her feet as they move down a long hallway, after a man dressed in white allows them inside. "Going to be a long day." She complains in a whisper, ignoring the warmth radiating from the gentle squeeze of Yaz's fingers tangled with her own.

***************

"I can talk to him." Yaz offers, once they're settled in one of the many guest rooms in the villa.

Ryan went off to explore the Italian countryside, while Graham decided to take a nap before the evening's gala. The Doctor is poring over the pile of documents handed to them by their host, a middle aged man working for a semi-legal organization that replaced something called UNIT.

Yaz leans back against the headboard, watching her friend's chaotic research. The Doctor's suit jacket lays on a chair, leaving her in a crisp white shirt and a loose bow tie, sleeves rolled up around her elbows.

When she runs a hand through her hair, Yaz gulps, trying to keep her thoughts away from exposed, slender forearms. "If it really bothers you." She adds, clearing her throat.

The words draw the Doctor's attention. "If what bothers me?" She asks, raising her head from the long list of employees provided by Agent Mark Gomez. None of the names are familiar to her, which is not surprising giving the amount of time that passed since her last collaboration with UNIT.

"Ryan's fixation on your first name."

The man's teasing faded over their lunch with the owner of the villa, Ryan presumably impressed by his impeccable manners and charisma. As soon as they were left alone, he disappeared with Graham into the first bedroom, reminding everyone to meet up an hour before the gala, and wishing Yaz and "The" a nice afternoon.

"It's fine." The Time Lord dismisses, stretching her arms over her head as she glances to the bedside clock. She spent almost two hours going over the files, and couldn't find the smallest hint about who was sharing classified information online. The organization replacing UNIT managed to contain - or discredit - every leak so far, but the growing weight of the intel scattered around Internet leaves the Doctor concerned.

"What's wrong?" Yaz interrupts, sinking against the mattress and tucking one arm behind her head as she regards her friend warily. "And how bad is it?"

Standing, the Doctor faces her own bed and glares at the mountain of paper littering the surface. Yaz waits, eyes glued to the alien's back in the lingering silence.

"Come here." The dark haired woman sighs, palm raised in a wordless offer.

With a slow grin, the Doctor hops into the empty side of Yaz's bed, grabbing her hand and letting it fall in the small space between them. "Thanks."

Slotting their fingers together, the police officer tries to ignore the nervous flutter in her chest, her heart racing at the sudden proximity. "What's bothering you?" She tries again, once the Doctor closes her eyes, distracted from the initial question.

"Someone's infiltrated their organization."

"Yeah, that's what Agent Gomez told us." Yaz confirms, nodding. "Did you find clues?"

The Doctor blows out a long sigh, before replying. "Nothing. But whoever it is, they're clever. Their level of access to classified information is climbing, fast."

"Why don't they stop giving people promotion, if they know there's a mole?" Yaz frowns, familiar with the inner working of security agencies.

"They did." The Doctor tilts her head to meet curious dark eyes. "That's the problem."

"So, nobody is gaining more access..." Yaz starts, summing up the situation. "But the information that's leaked is more confidential?"

"Yep." The Time Lord drawls out, the corner of her lips twitching in a smile. "Any suggestion, PC Khan?"

Yaz grins back. The Doctor taking her opinion into consideration before settling on a plan is happening more frequently as time passes, but it never fails to fill her with a sense of confidence she couldn't even imagine, a year ago.

"You already plan on using the gala to gather more intel, right?" She asks, stifling a sudden urge to fidget under her friend's intense scrutiny.

"Yes."

"Well..." Frowning, Yaz scrambles for another idea. "I don't know what else we could do."

"Good!" The Doctor exclaims. "Have nothing else either. I just wanted to see what you would say."

"Good?" Yaz repeats, her eyebrows pinched together. "I thought I was forgetting something!"

Raising on her elbow, the blond offers a sheepish smile. "Sorry?"

With a few mumbled words, Yaz rubs her forehead. "I hate you."

"Do you?" The Doctor wonders, voice softening in the quiet room.

The younger woman's breath catches in her throat, her eyes snapping to emerald irises shining with gentle amusement. "No." Following a sudden burst of courage, she slides the back of her fingers along the curve of the Doctor's cheek, tracing her jawline with her thumb. "Of course not."

The Time Lord blinks, leaning into the touch with a wistful smile. She opens her mouth, lips parted on the beginning of a new question, when the sound of an open palm smacking against the wood of their room's door startles both women, propelling them apart.

"Yaz? Doc?" Graham's voice interrupts, from the other side. "Ryan is back, he's getting cleaned up and we'll be ready to go."

Gaze darting to the large bay window, the Doctor pauses when she catches a glimpse of the dying sunset, surprised by how quickly the afternoon slipped away. "Give us a minute, Graham. We'll be right there." She answers, clearing her throat.

Turning to the younger woman, the Doctor does her best to ignore the sound of Yaz's thundering heart and heavy, controlled breathing. "You..." She swallows audibly, gathering her thoughts. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah, fine." Yaz dismisses, scrambling off the bed and smoothing the new lines creasing her shirt. She ties her shoes before turning back to the Doctor, who's making quick work of her bow tie, eyes searching the room for her jacket. "Here." She says thoughtlessly, fingers bunching into dark grey material as she holds up the coat for her friend.

Green-brown eyes flicker between Yaz's frozen smile and the offered jacket, the Doctor eventually moving forwards to slip into the sleeves, while warm hands tug on her shoulders, adjusting the collar and brushing away non existent dust. With a sharp intake of breath, the younger woman forces herself to step away, gulping. "There. Looking good."

"You look beautiful." The words tumble from the Doctor's lips before her brain can catch up, leaving her to stare at the floor in an attempt to ignore the raising flush coloring her friend's features.

"Thank you." Yaz hears herself replies, her mind reeling. "We should..." Trailing off, she points to the door. "Head out."

"Yes!" The Doctor approves, nodding vigorously. "Brilliant. Great idea. Ten points for you."

Feeling a bit better after the blond's flustered reaction, Yaz breathes out a relieved sigh and follows after the Doctor to find Ryan and Graham.

***************

"Why are you into the wall?" The Doctor asks, when she finds the woman she followed away from the reception room pinned on the opposite side of a half opened wall, the upper part of her body visible through a few missing planks. "Looks uncomfortable."

"It is!" The woman cries out, wriggling. "Get me out."

Frowning, the Doctor fishes the Sonic from the inner pocket of her jacket and scans the wood. "What happened?"

The stranger sighs, relieved by the prospect of leaving the narrow prison. "I was looking for the bathroom, when I heard voices coming from here." Vaguely motioning to the door with her chin, she draws the Doctor's attention to the empty storage space. "I found Mark, but there was nobody with him. When I asked who he was talking to, he panicked. Said I shouldn't be here, that I had to leave. I told him I could help, if something was wrong." She frowns, as the memory fleshes out in her mind. "There was this noise... Like a growl, coming from the floor. Mark just... Froze. He told me I was going to meet his new friends and the first thing I know, I woke up here."

"A growl." The Doctor repeats, angling her screwdriver downwards. "What sort of growl? Are we talking more like a dog, or a bear, or..."

"I don't know." The woman snaps. "I'm not an animal expert. Can you just... Do something? Or get help?"

"Well, I'm working on it." The blond frowns. "Not very patient, are you?"

"I'm stuck in a wall. It hurts, I can't ev..." The Doctor's attention slips away from the stranger's rant as she takes in the Sonic's display, unhappy. The scan isn't reporting anything out of the ordinary, leaving her to try and moves the planks by herself. "... and if you were stuck here, you wouldn't be happy either."

The Doctor tunes back into the woman's rambling complain, laying her palm against the wood over her head. A current of tingling energy travels from her fingertips to her elbows, and she groans at the familiar pull of teleportation. Blinking, she lets out a long, exasperated sigh once she finds herself on the wrong side of the wall, stuck between wood and a supporting beam of concrete digging into her back.

"Should have thought about that." The Doctor blurts out, letting her head rest against the hard surface behind her.

"That's it? We're going to die, and you..." The woman starts, before falling quiet and mustering up all her strength to push against the planks holding her prisoner.

"Stop that." The Time Lord directs, voice low. "Whatever is holding us lives into the walls. You don't want to hurt them."

Freezing, the stranger turns an alarmed gaze to the side. "Into... You mean it's here?"

The panicked, hushed whisper softens the Doctor's impatient glare. "Might be, might not be. But only antagonize aliens when they're not holding you prisoner."

"Al... Aliens?" She breathes out, gulping.

"Well, yes. Unless you know something from Earth that can trap people into walls. I don't."

"Help!" The woman suddenly shrieks, voice exploding in the narrow space they're caught into. "Someone help! There's an alien in the house."

"Could you..." Another round of screaming interrupts the Doctor's question.

"We're trapped! Help!" The stranger pauses again, filling her lungs with air.

"Stop. We're too far from the gala to be heard all the way over h...."

The Doctor trails off when the door of the storage room bursts open. Ryan's familiar shape fills the threshold for a second, drawing a relieved sigh from the blond. He peeks his head back into the hallway, calling out softly.

"Guys! In here."

A hand bats his shoulder, when Yaz appears behind him. "Doctor! We've been looking for you everywhere."

"Everything okay?" Another pair of footsteps grows louder, as Graham fits his way into the little space left in the room.

"Looks like you're stuck, The." Ryan comments, smirking slowly.

With a loud groan, the Doctor glares back. "We'll have a nice, long chat when I get out of here."

"Keep the banter for later, Ryan." Yaz approves, moving forwards. "And help me get them out. Take that si..."

"No, don't!"

The warning comes too late, Yaz's fingers making contact with the wall a few seconds later. She loses her breath at the cold pull tugging her down, closing her eyes against the electric current traveling through her. When her eyelids flutter open, she's stuck between the Doctor and the woman she doesn't know, her back lodged against a mess of electrical wires and pieces of metal sticking out.

Graham and Ryan freeze, eyes growing wide with the shock of watching their friend disappear.

"Are you all going to touch that stupid wall, or is anyone going to smarten up and look for competent help?" The stranger's sharp voice booms across the room, springing both men into action.

"We'll be back, come on Ryan." Dashing out, Graham runs down the hallway.

"Don't move." His grandson snickers, before taking off in the same direction.

***************

Seconds tick by, as the silence filling the room grows more awkward.

"Well, aren't you going to tell her?" The stranger speaks up, glancing to her side. "She has the right to know, she's stuck too."

"What are you talking about?" The Doctor sighs, wishing she could run a tired hand down her face.

"That there's..." Her voice drops, as she leans closer to Yaz. "An alien. In this house."

"Would now be a good time to announce I'm alien too?" The question earns the Doctor a loud gasp.

"You... You're with them! Tell your friends to let us go!"

"My what?"

"Your friends!" The woman insists, banging her hand against the wall as she tries to raise an accusatory finger in the Time Lord's direction.

"All right, just because I'm alien doesn't mean I know all of them. That's really ignorant."

"Shut up!" Yaz snaps, exasperated. "Both of you. Doctor, stop riling her up." A disgruntled agreement later, the police officer glances to the stranger, turning her head as much as she can in the confine space. "What's your name?"

"Are you like them?" The woman's eyes narrow, suspiciously. "An alien?"

"No, I'm all human. I'm a police officer." Yaz explains, her voice turning firmer. "What's your name?" She repeats.

"Agent Sofia Bianchi." Her shoulders loosen, the gripping fear slowing her thoughts fading a bit. "Do you have a plan to get us out?"

"I'll get back to you." Yaz shifts closer to the Doctor, wriggling on the opposite side. "Sonic?"

The blond shakes her head, activating the screwdriver still held tightly in her fist. The familiar orange glow brightens their makeshift prison, whirring uselessly. "Doesn't do wood."

"It what now?" Yaz blinks, with a deepening frown.

"It just... I never have time to put in a wood setting." She whispers, shrugging. "I'm busy!"

"Not right now, you're not. We're stuck." The dark haired woman blows out a long breath. "Do you know what's doing this?"

"No idea. It travels through the walls, whatever it is. Maybe some sort of shape shifter? She says it can growl..." The Doctor motions to the Agent. "I'd guess it has a solid form too."

"And Agent Mark Gomez can communicate with it." Sofia interjects, drawing both women's attention away from each other. The Doctor nods, while Yaz prompts further.

"What do you mean?"

"I caught him talking with the aliens, that's how I got trapped here."

Gasping Yaz turns back to the Doctor. "It's him! He's the mole."

"How d..."

"Think about it!" She continues, hand scratching against a loose plank as she tries to punctuate her theory. "He's friends with something that can travel through the walls. He can spy on any conversation happening in his house."

"The walls literally have ears." The Doctor approves, with a small smile. "That's clever."

"My friend is a spy, and I'm going to asphyxiate behind a wall with an alien and a police officer. This day just keeps getting better." Sofia sighs, disheartened.

"Sorry about your friend." The Time Lord tilts her head, offering a sincere apology. "If it makes you feel better, we won't die."

"Why n..."

"Hello? Aliens?" The Doctor raises her voice, tapping her fingertips against the nearest plank. "I know you can hear me." The surface under her hand seems to tingle, warming up slowly. "Yes, I'm talking to you. Why are you d..."

"Doctor." Yaz interrupts, slowly. "Is that a hand?"

Following her companion's gaze, the older woman carefully turns her head towards the empty space on her opposite side. There's the shadow of translucent fingers slowly taking shape, inches away from her nose. "Hi! Hello. I'm the Doctor. Erm..." She hesitates, eyes growing wide with a burst of cold fear. "Would you mind... Maybe you could tell us what you want?"

"I don't care!" Sofia frantically interrupts. "Just let us go."

The hand shuffles closer to the Doctor's face, flexing its pointy fingers in a vaguely threatening way. "Or maybe we can just exchange gossip. I've been a hologram, I know the kind of information you can ge..." Yaz's sharp elbow collides with her ribs, interrupting her proposition.

"Oi! All right, no gossi..." The Doctor stops, when the reason why Yaz tried to get her attention sinks in. Flattening itself against the wall, the alien limb slowly slides down, freezing once it gets level to the hand that's holding on to her screwdriver, before poking the cold steel curiously. "It wants the Sonic! It's mine."

"Yes. And you're going to give it to them." Yaz growls from between her teeth, trying to keep away a flare of panic when the wall holding them prisoner moves, closing in on her already squished body.

"I don't think so." The Doctor fires back, annoyed.

"Seriously?" Yaz snaps, feeling the piece of metal sticking out of the surface behind her digs further into her back. "You can build another."

"Not unless I find another Stenza transport pod, I can't."

"I'm not dying because some alien is too attached to a flashlight." Sofia objects, inching her way back from the moving wall.

"It's a Sonic screwdr..."

"Doctor!" There's a panic-filled edge to Yaz's voice that snaps the Time Lord's gaze to her friend's. When she spots the open, fearful look staring back at her, she sighs and pries her own fist open.

"All right, have it."

In a matter of seconds, cold, slimy fingers slide against her palm, snatching away the Sonic. The planks making up their prison shift away, leaving the three women to fall out against the floor in a heap of limbs.

Disentangling herself first, the Doctor flops to her back and stares at the ceiling, frown deepening. "I loved that screwdriver. It was my favorite."

With a breathless chuckle, Yaz crawls away from Sofia, blowing out a relieved sigh. "Sorry, Doc." She whispers, patting her friend's shoulder in honest apology.

"It's fine." She musters up a small smile, shrugging. "I like you better than my Sonic."

Dark eyes soften as the police officer raises to her elbows, slowly brushing through blond, tousled hair, letting her fingertips linger against the Doctor's scalp. "Thank you." She murmurs, gaze drawn back to the door when Ryan and Graham burst into the room.

"You're late." The Doctor deadpans, sighing.

***************

"What do we do?" Ryan asks, one of his arm thrown around Yaz's shoulders to support the woman leaning into his side. Being stuck into a wall with sharp pieces of metal digging into her skin left his friend on shaky legs, as they trudge their way up a twisty staircase.

"No idea. The Doc will think of something." Graham shrugs, waiting on the last step.

The blond stayed behind to convince Agent Bianchi to keep the evening's ordeal quiet, not before hustling the humans out of the room once she noticed Yaz's torn clothing.

"I hope it can wait for tomorrow." The injured woman sighs, slowly shaking off Ryan's hold. "I'll take a shower and clean up my back, you two try to get some sleep." She directs, slipping into the bedroom.

"Do you think it's safe?" Graham interjects, once he's alone with his grandson. "I don't know how I feel about staying in a house with sentient walls."

"We're fine." A voice answers further down, the Doctor pulling her bow tie loose as she emerges from the stairs. "Guessing they only attacked that woman because she surprised their conversation with Agent Gomez."

"What's the plan?" Ryan frowns, concerned.

"Sleep. You lot look like you're about to keel over." She replies with an awkward wave over her shoulder, peering into the guest bedroom she shares with Yaz.

Stepping through the doorway, the Doctor freezes once the spots her friend standing on the opposite side of the room, clad only in a black bra and trousers as she examines her back through a mirror.

"Doctor!" Yaz squeaks, scrambling to find her clothes.

"Wait." The Doctor protests, earning a confused look as Yaz holds her discarded shirt. "Your back." She explains, softly. Tiptoeing closer, she runs her fingertips across a smooth expanse of dark skin, gingerly swiping away a few droplets of blood. "You're hurt."

Yaz shakes her head, blaming the goosebumps trickling down her arms on the cold, instead of the gentle touch tracing her spine. "I know." She says, her voice shaky. "I should take care of it, before getting into the shower."

The Doctor purses her lips, considering the extensive injuries covering her companion's back. "Erm... I could help." She shrugs, struggling to keep her tone casual. "If you want."

With a steadying breath, Yaz nods. The glimpse of her back she caught in the mirror showed much deeper wounds than she anticipated, leaving her a bit queasy.

“Please.” She confirms, heading toward the en-suite bathroom when their gazes meet, the Doctor giving a tight smile.

Yaz finds a bar of soap and clean towels in a cabinet, neatly piling them next to the sink. Facing the mirror, she forces a deep breath into her lungs.

A familiar flutter below her ribs throbs almost painfully at the prospect of having the Doctor taking care of her wounds, especially now that Yaz thinks - or hopes - her crush is not as one-sided as it seemed.

Between the alien's social awkwardness and her murky grasp of human relationships, her emotions are hard to decipher. Near-misses situations where Yaz's confession dies on the cusp of her lips are growing more frequent, each occurrence leaving her a bit more flustered and confused over the intense hazel eyes that always faces her.

Remembering how her friend softened in the storage room earlier, when Yaz's fingers were slowly sorting through messy blond hair, her heart races. It takes the Doctor's head peeking through the doorway to snap her out of her memories.

"Everything all right?”

Yaz gulps, suddenly hyper aware of her shirtless upper body. "Yes." She responds stiffly, motioning to the medical supply on the counter.

The Doctor approaches, wincing in sympathy at a particularly deep gash between her shoulders. She grabs the bar of soap, scrubbing her palms up to her wrists, accidentally drawing Yaz's attention to her rolled up sleeves.

The younger woman indulges herself, eyes racking from slim forearms to the Doctor's strong hands, distracting her mind from the dreadful, upcoming process of cleaning up her injuries.

“Are you ready?” The Doctor checks, once she's done rubbing soapy foam under her nails, a wet towel clasped between her fingers.

Squaring her shoulders, Yaz steels herself and meets the Doctor's gaze through the mirror with a firm nod.

"Erm..." The Time Lord hesitates, eyeing the deepest wound on Yaz's right side. She decides to get it out of the way first, forcing her voice to sound casual. "Might sting a bit."

The towel dabs gently against torn flesh, drawing a loud hiss from the injured woman. "Sting? That hurt." Yaz protests, biting into her bottom lip.

"Sorry." The Doctor pulls away, wringing out a mix of water and blood from the cloth. "I lied."

"Do they teach that in med school?" Yaz grumbles, flinching when the towel circles another deep cut. "My family doctor could be cutting off someone's limb, and he'd still say 'Don't worry, it won't hurt." She complains, dropping her voice in a poor imitation of the man's Welsh accent.

Glancing into the mirror, Yaz smiles at the reflection of her friend's knitted eyebrows and peeked-out tongue, deep in thoughts. "I guess you wouldn't know, you've never been to med school." She adds, attributing her nervous rambling to the dull pain spreading through her sides.

The quip catches the Time Lord's attention. "Yes, I have." She protests, straightening her back.

"Doctor, you have the attention span of a five year old." Yaz points out, snickering. "How did you pass med school?"

"Didn't exactly pass the exam." The blond mutters, twisting the faucet to rinse traces of blood coloring her fingertips.

Yaz's burst of laughter turns into a breathless, choked noise when a hand settles where her neck meets her shoulder, holding her in place as lukewarm droplets make their way down her spine. The stark contrast between hot water and the Doctor's cooler touch ghosting across her back sends a shiver traveling through her, goosebumps littering the exposed skin.

Frowning at the sight, the blond steps back and shakes off her jacket, fumbling with the sleeves. Holding it in her hands, she drapes the coat over Yaz's front with a satisfied nod. "There. Can't have a cold Yaz."

The earnest smile she receives when their gazes meet through the mirror sends a flurry of nervous energy through Yaz's stomach, leaving her with a suddenly dry mouth. "Thank you." She breathes out, happy when the Doctor simply nods and tilts her head down, picking up her careful cleaning of Yaz's back.

“You should have told me.” The Doctor says, minutes later as she's applying antibacterial cream to the wounds. “About your injuries.”

Yaz shrugs. “There was nothing you could do.”

Snapping her jaw shut, the Doctor muffles a quiet protest. She can’t argue, whatever lives inside the villa’s walls held her powerless today.

“Doctor?”

Glancing down, the blond notices her hand hanging in the space between them, ointment dripping from her thumb. “Right. Sorry.”

She slips her hands under trickling water, before squeezing a bit more more cream out of the tube, focused on a superficial scratch below Yaz ribs.

“What’s wrong?” The dark haired woman prompts, noting the mechanical, stiffed fingers grazing her back, in sharp contradiction to the gentle, lingering touch from a few seconds ago.

“Noth...” The automatic response sticks through the Doctor's throat when she catches Yaz's arched eyebrow. “You’re right. There was nothing I could do. That alien could have decided to kill us, and I would have been stuck watching you die.”

“Did I say that?” Yaz shakes her head, eyebrow hitching further. “You talked to them, and you gave it what they wanted. Lost your Sonic, remember?" She adds teasingly, before falling serious again. "Not everything bad that happens to us is your fault. ”

When a stretching silence is her only answer, she half twists around, clutching the Doctor's coat against her chest as she focuses on her friend's dipped head. Hooking a finger under the Doctor’s chin, she guides shifty hazel eyes to meet her own.

“I’ve never felt safer than when I’m with you.” Yaz waits until she sees a spark of prideful satisfaction light up the Doctor’s gaze, before resting their foreheads together. Cold hands settle on her hips, pulling until they're properly facing each other.

Willing her own arms still, Yaz fights to keep her eyes from darting to nearby lips, struggling to keep her breathing steady.

The Doctor nuzzles closer, leaving the dark haired woman powerless to stop herself from reaching out. Finding the sides of the Time Lord's neck, she traces her fingertips down to her shoulders.

"I think we..." Yaz trails off, frozen by a sudden, gripping fear of putting the feelings between them into words. She nervously runs the tip of her tongue along her lips, scrambling for words.

Glancing up, her breath hitches when she spots an intense gaze following the movement, the hazel color she's used to clouded by a warm, vivid shadow.

"Tell me what you want."

"Kiss me." The rough edge to the Doctor's voice makes the request tumbles from her mouth before Yaz can think it through.

Arms crossing low on Yaz's back, the blond brushes their lips together teasingly. The fleeting touch draws them closer, the Doctor humming in satisfaction before sinking into a more solid contact. Yaz slips her fingers higher, tangling into messy hair as the kiss grows a little more heated.

Hissing when the Doctor shifts her hands, Yaz ignores the sting coming from the wounds scattered on her skin. The Time Lord freezes, feeling the grip on her shirt tightens into a fist.

Clinging to the white material, she holds the Doctor close for another lingering moment, fighting against her attempt to pull back.

Running out of air, Yaz breaks the kiss. "I'm fine." She whispers, responding to the silent, apologetic look sent her way.

"Forgot about your back, sor..."

"I know." Yaz interrupts. "I forgot too." She bites her lip, chuckling. "You're really good at that."

"Am I?" The Doctor wonders, with a slow smile. "Been a while."

"Yeah, well..." Taking a step back, she shrugs. "Couldn't tell." When the blond's grin turns into a smirk, Yaz pushes her out of the bathroom.

"Enough, or your head won't fit through the doorway. I need a proper shower, think you can keep yourself busy?"

Before the Doctor can reply the door closes in her face, drawing a burst of breathless laughter. Gingerly touching her own tingling lips, she falls into a soft mattress, forcing deep, regular breaths into her lungs.

***************

Toweling her hair dry, Yaz pads through the bedroom, still holding the Doctor’s jacket to her chest against the cold, humid air of the night. The other woman is sitting over the cover of her bed, still fully dressed with her back reclined against the headboard and legs crossed at the ankles.

With a pleased smile, Yaz sinks into the empty side of the mattress, discarding the coat before sliding between silky sheets. “You’re not sleeping.” She remarks, laying on her side.

“Not when aliens I don’t know are hiding into walls, no.” The Doctor shrugs, raising her head from a book she’s scrawling into. “I’m keeping an eye on you.” She explains, pointing to the door. “On all of you.”

“You can hear into the boys’ room?”

“I hear everything.” She replies, voice turned wistful. “I’ll listen for their heartbeats.” The Doctor specifies, before Yaz has a chance to question her definition of “everything”.

Nodding, the younger woman forces herself to relax into the bed, determined to postpone any discussion about what happened between them in the bathroom.

Her sore muscles protest when Yaz shifts in a poor attempt to get rid of a persistent twinge between her shoulder blades, slowly realizing that her injuries won't allow for her usual sleeping position. With a deep sigh, she tucks a hand under her chin and tries to get comfortable on her side.

Silently watching her companion fidget, the Doctor tilts her head, intrigued. "What's wrong?"

"I'm usually on my back." Yaz huffs in frustration. "How am I supposed to sleep?"

With another, longer glance, the Time Lord discards her journal, drumming her fingers against her knee in a purposeful motion. "Come here."

Yaz blinks, uncertain. "Are you sure?" She asks, contemplating the intimate position offered by the Doctor.

"We were snogging ten minutes ago. Might be socially awkward, but I think cuddling is less o..."

"All right, fine." Yaz sighs, flustered. Slowly, she shifts until she's laying on her stomach, cheek resting on the other woman's knee, before tilting her head up when the back of the Doctor's fingers ghost over the side of her face.

With a steadying breath, the blond speaks up. "Do you want to talk about it?" She gulps, uncomfortable. "We can, if y..."

"Can it wait?" Yaz interrupts nervously, enjoying the warmth of the Doctor's body pressed against her own. A conversation means risking this peaceful, fragile balance they just stroke, the prospect making her stomach drop.

"Are you worried?" The Doctor wonders, lowering her voice. "Don't be scared."

"I'm not." Yaz denies, weakly. "But I'm never so..." She pauses, looking down at her undressed upper body draped over the Doctor's leg. "Feeling so vulnerable. I guess." The confession lands heavily in the patient silence, earning her a knowing smile.

"I get that. Want me to switch to the other bed?"

"No!" Yaz objects, growing used to the light touch tracing her features. "I'll... I'm fine now. Just..." The jumbled words fade into a content sigh, when fingertips brush the soft skin under her ear. "Keep going."

Minutes tick by, leaving the police officer purring when the Doctor's movements turn methodical, the other woman combing through the hair at the back of her neck in broad, slow strokes.

“Where did you learn that?” Yaz mumbles, melting under the Doctor’s gentle touch.

“River used to do it for me.” The Time Lord’s eyes grow wide as the truth tumbles from her lips.

“Who?” Yaz fights against the pull of sleep in the lingering silence, yawning. She misses the Doctor's sad smile.

“River.” Whispering, she bends at the waist to kiss Yaz’s forehead. “Long story. Go to sleep.”

“Sounds nice. G’night, Doc.” She slurs against black trousers.

“Goodnight, Yasmin Khan.”