Find A Way To Let You
They watched the evening news, then nature documentaries, and history documentaries. By the time they'd had as much television as they could bear, Kate suggested ice cream. Despite the Rani's initial protests, she eventually gave in and the two of them enjoyed bowls of boysenberry ripple.
"The dishes will need doing," Kate said tiredly.
"I suppose I might as well help you."
"You? Doing dishes?" The human woman had begun to walk to the kitchen, but stopped and looked back incredulously.
"I am perfectly capable of doing menial tasks when necessary," the Rani said, not looking bothered. "There is no shame in simple work for the sake of cleanliness and order."
Kate found it rather odd despite the logic involved. She just shook her head and rolled her sleeves up as the sink filled with hot water. The Rani approached the kitchen sink and examined the bottle of washing liquid.
"This isn't very well made," she told her associate, "Half the chemical makeup is the colour and the fragrance, which is hardly important compared to the quality of the cleaning."
"Quit criticising and just squirt some into the sink." When the Rani did just that, Kate glanced sideways at her. "Maybe I should take you with me to the store next time I buy dishwashing liquid."
"My dedication only goes so far," came the answer, "And domestic food shopping goes much further."
"Dedication?" Kate asked with a lifted eyebrow and tiny smile. "Outside of your science experiments, it's not a word I would apply to you. Unless you mean this investigation?"
"Well what else would I mean?" The Rani murmured, taking the first washed dish from Kate and rubbing it dry with a tea towel.
Kate plunged her hands into the soapy warm water again. She didn't really know how to answer. "You make it sound like I would know. You're the most unfathomable person I've ever met." She didn't get a reply, but she was so busy waiting for one that she accidentally moved her hand too quickly. A serrated knife floating in the water ripped across her forearm in a stinging slash of an instant. "Shit!" She pulled her arm out to see a red line forming and beginning to ooze blood.
"Good job," the Rani said sarcastically, "Do you have a medical kit?"
"I think I have some plasters in the cupboard over there." She gestured vaguely and ran her arm under the cold tap to get rid of the blood. Then two plasters were handed to her, only to be snatched away a moment later.
"Actually, perhaps I best do it." The Rani peeled away the wrappers - not disguising her subtle curiosity for the simple band-aids - and laid one then the other plaster onto the small injury. Her long fingers smoothed over the rubbery surface and onto the skin of Kate's arm, ensuring that they were properly applied. "There."
Kate thanked her in a sort of mumble and took her arm back to examine it before - carefully - going back to doing the dishes. After a minute or so, she spoke again.
"Would I be wrong in assuming that it's been centuries since you spent this much friendly time with a person?"
"No," her guest replied, "But that was how I preferred it."
"What changed? I know you say the investigation, but to even think it up, a few things must be different now than how they were then."
The Rani frowned, and snatched the dish from Kate's hands so that she could roughly scrub at it. "Stop acting as though you know so much about me. You still don't."
"I think I know more than most," Kate said quietly, "And I'm just trying to understand. As odd as it is, you seem to be the person I spend the most time with these days."
"And why do you think that is?"
"Because I'm too busy, usually." The blonde sighed as she finished off the last dish. "And even when I'm not, who would I be friends with? How could I possibly be interested in someone who still doesn't believe in other worlds, let alone know about my position in UNIT?"
"Don't you have a son? Doesn't he know what you do?"
Kate blinked, having not expected the Rani to know about her personal life, but then, the woman had looked her up after their first meeting. "Yes. Gordon. He knows about what I do. But he lives in Manchester now, and has a fiance. We're too busy for each other most of the time."
"And your daughter? Her father?"
"In America. They know but...don't understand." There was a brief pause before Kate turned to look at the Rani with slightly narrowed eyes. "You don't have children, do you?"
The Rani actually laughed as she finished off drying the final bowl. "What do you think?"
"Honestly?" Kate asked, smirking. "I think that you're the least maternal person I've ever met, and would sooner cut off a finger than have a child."
"That just about sums it up," the other woman chuckled. Then she turned thoughtful. "But in terms of spending time with other intelligent beings...perhaps I'm less fussy in my slightly older age. Regeneration may have made some adjustments as well."
"You must be getting less fussy if you're referring to me as an intelligent being."
"I always considered you to be an intelligent being, Stewart." At Kate's incredulous look, the Rani shrugged. "For a human."
"And there it is," Kate said, throwing her soap sodden hands up, "I'm past being surprised." With her action, water and soap suds flew through the air and landed on the two women as well as the bench. But mostly Kate herself. "Urgh." She grabbed the tea towel and used it wipe the suds off of her shirt - patches of which were now slightly transparent due to the light, pale fabric of her blouse coming into contact with the water.
"This is why dishwashers were invented," the Rani grumbled, "Why don't you have one?"
"I find doing the dishes peaceful," Kate defended as she turned around to lean back against the counter instead of facing the sink set in it, "Besides, I'm not usually home to use them."
The Rani just shook her head more and rolled her eyes as she reached past her to grab the tea towel where it had been put down on the bench on the other side of Kate, who tried to push herself back against the counter to allow her more room. Just as her hand closed around the tea towel, the Rani looked up to find herself directly in front of Kate, face inches from hers, eyes locked.
As brown met grey there was an infinite moment. Both women stood very still, as if they would met great peril if they shifted even an inch. Kate - now a little absorbed in the cool intelligence of the Rani's eyes - found herself recalling that odd moment several hours before on the balcony. The same heaviness in her stomach returned, much to her confusion.
And then it was over and the tea towel was in the Rani's hand and the Time Lady was standing several metres away, eyeing her with curiosity. Kate frowned and rubbed her temples.
"You look tired," the brunette said to her. "Isn't it about time you were in bed?"
"I'm not sure that I'm comfortable going to sleep and just leaving you out here."
The Rani smirked. "You still don't trust me to behave?"
Kate sighed. "No. Well...maybe. I don't know. Everything about you is complicated."
"You could always contact the Doctor and ask him to try and remove me." It was plainly a joke, but interestingly enough a rather viable scenario that Kate hadn't even considered for some reason.
"I don't need his help with you," she said firmly, and then paused. "Besides, I never said I wanted you removed, just that trusting you is difficult. I'm surprised that you've managed to go this long without your laboratory."
"Not all of us have the attention span of a human child like the Doctor," the Rani haughtily said. "Most of us are very patient. We dislike waiting, but are very good at it."
"But how many others things are there for you to do if I go to bed?"
"There's an entire bookcase. Not ideal, but passable. Also, your television, if I must."
Kate couldn't help but frown again. "I'm still not comfortable with it. I don't usually have anyone over, ever. And you're not just a passive human, you're...you."
The Rani took a step closer and smiled rather smugly. "What are you afraid of, Stewart?"
"I'm not afraid of anything," Kate snapped. She was starting to feel very nervous, and couldn't fathom why. But the last thing she wanted was for the Rani to know that. To keep up the facade of confidence, she also took a step forward instead of the step back she would have preferred.
"Then why are your hands shaking?" The Rani loosely grabbed the aforementioned hands and held them up for a moment to prove her point. Kate abruptly snatched them back to her sides, trying not to ball them into fists.
She wanted to have a good comeback, to deny it or justify it or come up with some kind of excuse, but nothing came to her. Her mouth opened as she tried to speak, but nothing came out no matter how hard she tried. She was, for no understandable reason, tongue-tied.
But the Rani's smug look lasted for only a second before it shifted into something odd, something unidentifiable that did anything but help Kate's nerves.
"Look at that," she said quietly to Kate, eyeing her, "You're out of prattle."
Without knowing how it happened or who moved, suddenly their lips were touching, tentatively, like an experiment in itself. It lasted just for a moment before they both jerked away only to stare at each other.
Kate's eyes were wide as she felt more confusion and surprise than she could possibly ever remember feeling, and the Rani looked incredibly thoughtful. Again, the former was unable to form words.
"You look like an animal confronted by headlights," the Rani said, and Kate's verbal block disappeared as she found herself laughing, albeit very nervously.
"Of all the things for you to say," she said, almost giddily.
The Rani chuckled for a moment before she became more serious. "What would you rather me say?" Her voice dipped a tone lower, and Kate found herself taking in a sudden breath.
"I...I don't know," she admitted, "I never thought...you said that your people didn't do this sort of thing." It wasn't exactly what she wanted to say, but she couldn't be sure what she did want to say, and saying anything was better than being dumbstruck for the third time.
"We do, just not often."
"But I'm not...I've never really been attracted to-" Kate stammered the words, turning rather pink. "I mean, you're a woman."
"Very observant of you."
"But I'm not - I never have been...gay," she finally said.
"You humans and your ridiculous categories," the Rani said, sounding both irritated and amused at the same time, though how she managed both was an utter mystery to Kate. The Time Lady took a strategic step and before Kate knew it, she was against the kitchen counter with the Rani's hands planted on the marble either side of her. "I can hear your little singular heart pounding. Your pupils are dilated. Regardless of whatever category you may think you belong in, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, you seem to be attracted to me." She leaned in so that their lips were a hair's breadth apart.
It then dawned on her exactly what was happening. She had kissed the Rani...and was a breath away from doing so again. And the oddest part was that she wanted to. This infuriating, sometimes horrid, 'superior' woman that she wasn't even sure that she liked or trusted, had suddenly become something potentially quite different. And it was terrifying.
But it was also overwhelming and a surprising heat was starting to sit under her skin.
By that point, Kate had lost the ability to breathe but managed to whisper, "So are you going to kiss me or not?" The Rani then did just that, and it was strange, slow, and warm despite the Rani's cooler skin.
Upon breaking apart, Kate let her very human and hot-blooded instincts take charge, and she put a hand on either side of the Time Lady's face so that she could kiss her deeply and passionately, so much so that both of them were shocked. The Rani was mostly still, but her hands eventually came to rest on Kate's waist.
Eventually they broke apart, breathing very heavily - Kate especially. But the Rani seemed rather taken aback. Despite her calm demeanour, it was clear that she really wasn't used to such activities.
Kate offered the other woman a small, funny smile, only to find herself being yanked forward, turned, and pressed against her pantry door for a thorough snogging. As hands began to wander just a little, it became clear that what was happening wasn't showing any sign of slowing down. And that brought up a whole new line of mental panic. Kissing was one thing, but…
That was when Kate realised that in that moment, she was going to act on impulse for the first time in decades, do what she for some reason very much wanted to do, and deal with the repercussions in the morning.
"You know," she breathed against the Rani's lips, "I may have just thought of a solution to this bed issue."
The Rani laughed, a proper laugh that sunk into the skin of Kate's neck. "Lead the way, Lethbridge."
Kate hesitated for a moment before grabbing her hand and slowly pulling her in the direction of the bedroom. "You know, you can call me Kate."
They got into the bedroom, and some of Kate's courage waned as she glanced around the room and her mind raced ahead to all the possible scenarios. She turned abruptly to the Rani. "You know, I don't usually do-" She was cut off by a swift and forceful kiss on the Rani's part, and the two of them fell back onto the soft double bed that dominated the room's space. As the new, unexplainable but consuming need filled her, she gave into the strangeness of what she was doing and decided to worry about it later.
The Rani's hands went to the buttons of Kate's blouse and began to undo them until the shirt could be thrown on the floor behind them. Meanwhile, Kate's hands were gaining the courage to reach under the bottom of the borrowed navy shirt the Rani was wearing. Her fingers and palms traced the skin around her lower back and stomach, only to find strange rough lines. When she partially pushed up the fabric, she saw scars there, brutal, painful looking scars embedded in the pale skin.
"When did you get these?" Kate asked, surprising herself with how worried she was.
"They're from the Time War," the Rani said, scowling down at them. The two women shifted so that they were sitting on the bed facing each other with their legs partially overlapping. Already, in the space of a few minutes, their relationship had begun to shift and open up into something new.
Kate touched a scar gently. "Do they hurt?"
"But how can they be from the Time War? I thought the whole point of regeneration was to be renewed."
The Rani rolled her eyes, but not at Kate. "It is. But the Daleks are geniuses, they manufactured weapons that could give injuries so deep that they could not be healed by regeneration, at least not completely."
Wordlessly, slowly and deliberately, so that there was plenty of time for the Rani to stop her, Kate took the bottom of the navy shirt in her hands and pulled it over the Rani's head. Because she had been reluctant to lend the Rani any undergarments, the Time Lady's torso was bared to her.
The scars - about two inches line and ranging from one to four millimeters thick - also graced her arms and shoulders, as well as a few across her breasts and ribcage.
Kate's hand flew to her mouth. "Oh my god."
For the first time, a seed of insecurity - or at least, uncertainty - lay in the Rani's grey eyes. "Are they horribly ugly?"
The blonde head tilted to the side, considering. "No, not exactly. It's just that I never really thought of you as a warrior."
"I'm not," the brunette said, gritting her teeth, "But the war called for desperate measures. Besides, you don't have to be a warrior to get injured."
"Are there many other Time Lords who look like this?"
"Quite a few, but I don't imagine you would find many who look worse than me."
The Rani shrugged. "I was a renegade who had been exiled. I was trouble. So they sent me on the most dangerous missions and into the most ferocious battles. The Doctor was the same, once he finally decided to join in, though he went of his own free will."
Kate almost wanted to reach out and touch her, given their current position and the depth of the conversation, but couldn't bring herself to do it. Despite them unexpectedly delving into physical intimacy, comforting touches branched more into emotional intimacy, which was certainly not something they had. Instead she settled for saying rather honestly, "It's hard to imagine anyone being able to hurt you."
"You seem so indomitable."
"I am," the Rani said, "But there are always limits. The Time War and the High Council's control was mine."
"Are you under their control now?"
"Of course not." Her lip curled with satisfaction, and her eyes were almost playful as she looked amused and thoughtful. "I wonder what they would say if they knew I was in bed with a human?"
Kate gave a small chuckle at the thought, before giving the Rani a more wry smile. "You know, we're technically not in the bed. Or with each other enough for that term to be correct."
The Rani just stared at her for a second before her lips twitched. "I know. But that's easily rectified." She leaned in and captured Kate's lips with her own again, and ran her hands through soft blonde hair as Kate's began to map out the revealed skin of the Time Lady's torso.
"I haven't done this before...with a woman," Kate suddenly admitted, and the Rani just smiled down at her.
"That's alright, I haven't done this at all in several centuries. We'll work it out."
With that and another kiss, they fell onto the soft duvet once again and divested each other of the rest of their clothing.
When Kate woke, it was a drizzly morning outside. The rain pattered against the bedroom window with a comforting pitter patter. For a while she just watched the drops hitting the glass and racing down the pane, her bare body slowly stretching out under the cotton sheets.
Eventually she realised that there was an arm loosely draped slightly across her stomach.
Carefully, she turned to face the body it was attached to, and saw that the Rani was still asleep. For the first time, the alien woman actually looked relaxed and peaceful. Her auburn hair was free of its braid and spread around the pillow in braid-induced curls.
I don't know if it's strange or sort of endearing to see her sleeping, Kate considered, though finding anything about her endearing proves how odd the last 24 hours have been.
Within five minutes, the Rani began to stir, and her grey eyes opened. For a moment they just looked at each other, until the Rani finally spoke.
"Hello," she said, as if it had only just occurred to her to greet the person she was in bed with.
"Hello," Kate replied with a tiny smile. "You know, I wasn't even sure if you slept."
"Not as much as you, but I do require it occasionally," the Rani said, "I was almost a week overdue."
The blonde human lent back on her pillows and stared up at the ceiling. "If I am going to be completely honest, I'm still processing...this."
"Understandable. It wasn't exactly something I predicted either. I never thought that I would ever find myself in bed with a human."
"I never thought I would find myself in bed with a Time Lord." Kate bit her lip thoughtfully. "I wonder what my father would think about that. A female one too, who's experimented on humans and enslaved species."
"I think that he would be glad that at least it wasn't the Master," the Rani said, "Compared to him, I'm quite favourable." They both chuckled.
"Even so, it's quite entertaining to picture his face," Kate said vaguely, laughing to herself. "He always warned me about Time Lords. I don't think that this was quite what he had in mind."
There was a long silence. Eventually, Kate couldn't bear it any longer and had to ask the questions nagging at her.
"So what happens now?" Her voice came out rather unsure and tentative. "Was this just...something that happened and now we go on as we were?" A horrid thought occurred to her and she spun to look at the other woman. "This wasn't just to add to your investigation, was it?"
The Rani looked amused and shook her head. "No. Though I suppose it does in a way, in retrospect."
"So...what then? Was this a one time thing?" Only as she asked it did Kate realise just how much most of her hoped that the Time Lady answered in the negative.
"Did you want it to be?"
"I...I don't know. It's still too strange to even think about. You're this impossible thing that I don't think I'll ever understand. And I don't know if this helps or makes it worse." Kate ran a hand through her hair nervously.
"It doesn't all have to be worked out right now," the Rani said slowly, "You make it sound as though I know what I'm doing."
"You don't? There's...things to work out?" Kate asked. The thought made her a little relieved, but a more rational part of her was rather concerned at what she was getting into.
"Yes, I think so. But in the meantime, I think that there are better ways to spend a morning like this." The Rani's hand traced the curve of Kate's hip.
"You're learning," Kate joked, and leaned in and kissed her.
"Well, if you're going to do something bad, might as well do it more than once," the brunette said wryly as her other hand came up to rest at the top of Kate's neck. With only a small movement, she was on top and they laughed as the sheets proved to be rather tangled and difficult to displace.
I tried really hard to make this in character, which is tricky due to how random the situation is and how delicate their personalities are against each other. So please let me know how it came across and whether it was believable or not.
Thanks for reading, and reviews are appreciated!