We're Not Done, Are We?
After a certain amount of lounging in bed, the Rani began to stir.
"I can't spend any more of the day doing nothing," She said as she got out of the bed and started getting dressed. Kate propped herself up on her elbow and watched as she pulled on the jeans with slight difficulty.
"Denim jeans too elusive for the great Gallifreyan mind?" Kate teased lightly.
"Shut up, Stewart," The Rani said with a roll of her eyes.
It was obvious that it was all lighthearted, but the use of her surname bothered Kate. "Is that how it's going to be now?"
"I think we're a bit past surnames. Or, I thought we were. You can call me Kate."
"Kate..." It was plain that the Rani was testing the word on her tongue. "I hope you do realise my...lack of ability in this area. Time Lords don't do...this."
"Sex? You said that you did, sometimes."
"Not sex. All of what comes with it." The brunette frowned and started to leave the room. "I need water."
"Your 48 hours aren't up, don't leave the apartment!" Kate called after her. Problem was, she wasn't sure if she was reminding her for professional or personal reasons anymore. With a sigh, she sank back into the pillows to briefly contemplate what the hell she'd managed to get herself into. Then she got up and dressed in fresh clothes - a dark trouser suit that felt like armour. Due to feeling vulnerable in other ways that all seemed to come back to the woman in her kitchen, it helped enough to give her the strength to leave the bedroom.
The Rani sat at the dining table with a large glass of water in her hands. Her hair was still free and messy, in a way that somehow reassured Kate that this was still the woman who had been in her bed just before. That hair was tangible, she could recall having her hands all through it…
The blonde fought the urge to blush like a teenager and quickly moved into the kitchen to make herself tea.
"I don't want you to expect too much of me, Stewart."
Kate didn't turn away from her teapot and just sighed slightly. "I probably should have seen this coming. I don't know why I thought that you might be different from other people. You being who you are only makes this all more likely."
"Your mumbled vagueries better get specific soon if you want something out of me," The Rani said with a practically audible scowl.
"Oh, I'm the one being vague now, am I?" Kate asked as she spun around and threw her hands into the air exasperatedly. "I don't want you to expect too much of me. You could have just said straight off the bat that it was just a one time thing, that it was a mistake."
"It wasn't a mistake," The Rani said firmly, getting from her chair and crossing to the kitchen, "Stop putting words into my mouth."
"But it was just sex?"
The look on the Rani's face was unfathomable in everything except its obvious indecision. Eventually she managed to force out the word, "No." A few seconds later, her fist pounded on the kitchen counter and she stalked several paces backward from Kate. "I can't deal with your ridiculous human drama!" She seethed.
"Well, I'm sorry that I'm not just a shag you can quietly slip away from and sod off to another part of the universe!" Kate retorted, feeling hurt like that of the early days of their dealings, only a hundred times more painful because of how much more personal it had become.
"Oh for fuck's sake," The Rani muttered. "I don't have to deal with this." Still without shoes, she stormed towards the door.
"Fine then!" Kate shouted.
But before the Rani made it to the door, she stumbled. It was so uncharacteristic of the woman that Kate for a moment just stared. Then the Time Lady dropped to the floor.
Kate crept closer, bring her head around the kitchen counter to look at the woman suddenly sprawled awkwardly on the floor. "Rani?" She dashed to her side. "Rani, can you hear me?"
All she got in response was a groan. When the human pressed her hand against the Rani's cheek, she almost pulled it back because of the heat there. And the Gallifreyan's skin had always been significantly cooler than hers - which only made this change all the more alarming.
"Slitheen...chemical…" The Rani murmured breathily.
"Oh shit," Kate said, eyes widening. "I have no idea what to do. And I can't take you into UNIT, they'll ask too many questions."
"But it's in the lab. We'll get seen."
"Remote control. In my...jacket."
Kate dashed to the bathroom, where the Rani's old clothes still lay on the tiled floor. She rifled through the jacket and sure enough found a small device that had to be the remote. She ran back to the Rani and pressed the most prominent button the remote. Luck was on her side. The cupboard from the lab began to dematerialise in her living room.
"Come on," Kate muttered. "You're too big of a stuck up pain to be taken down by one little chemical." She hoisted the Rani's limp body up so that it mostly weighed down on her own. Pulling the still form with her to the TARDIS, Kate shoved the door open.
What lay inside made her accidentally drop the Rani onto the floor. She'd heard the words 'bigger on the inside' since she was in early childhood, but hearing something and seeing it were two incredibly different things. It was like stepping into another world - or had it been actually referenced as another dimension by someone, once?
The room was grey and silver, and circular just like the console in the centre. Several loops entwined atop the console, whirring like cogs in a machine. The controls on the console were dark red and blue. Several jars lined shelves along the walls, filled with what looked like embryos.
"Don't know what I expected," Kate said, more to herself than anything. She nudged the Rani - now on the floor - with her foot. "Where's the chemical?"
Weak hands swatted her foot away. "Lab. Corridor around...the corner. Two lefts...and a right."
Kate ducked down to properly hoist the Rani's arm around her shoulders and loop hers around her waist to keep her upright. Slowly, she made her way in the instructed direction. When they got to the lab, she sat the Rani down on the floor against a standing workbench.
"Where is it?"
A heavy hand pointed to a cabinet along the far wall. "Third from top. Fourth from left. Yellow phial."
It took her several seconds upon opening the cabinet to comprehend the sheer number of phials in front of her. But the instructions were specific and correct - though she expected no less from the Rani despite her current state - and she grabbed the phial and rushed back to open the top and hold it out to the Rani.
"Now what? Do you touch it or drink it?"
It was snatched from her hand and downed in a single gulp. The Rani began to splutter and she looked like she was about to throw the phial against the wall only to think better of it and just roll it away along the floor.
"I never wanted to actually need that damn thing," She growled.
"Is it an antidote?"
"No. It will balance my system long enough for me to make one. I'm a chemist, it's what I do." She slowly got to her feet and waved away Kate's helping hands. Wordlessly, she grabbed a swab and stuck it down her own throat. She then pulled it out and swabbed it on a petri dish from a stack on the bench.
"I don't suppose you'd be able to explain your process?" Kate asked delicately.
"While I'm trying to make a cure for the toxin trying to claim my body? Your timing is impeccable."
"Maybe now isn't the best time. But I really would be interested in learning more. Who better to teach me than the smartest person present on the planet?"
The Rani regarded Kate for several moments before she nodded once and began to explain - in what were undoubtedly still highly simplified terms - what she was doing. Kate was able to understand and nodded to show it.
Finally, after over ten minutes, the antidote was ready. With only a flicker of a glance at Kate first, the Rani tilted her head back swallowed the small quantity of liquid in three modulated gulps. Her entire body shook momentarily as if she had been electrocuted, and she slumped against the workbench, visibly tired.
Kate rushed to her side. "Did it work?"
Out of a quenching relief, Kate leaned in and kissed her fiercely. After a moment's stillness, the Rani kissed her back with equal - if not greater - fervour.
When they finally broke apart, Kate held the Rani's gaze - a gaze becoming more focused with every second thanks to the antidote. "Back at my apartment, you said no. Explain."
The Rani's face turned unreadable. "Yes, I did." She looked at Kate with grey eyes swimming with indecision. "But don't you see? Every part of me wanted to say yes. To just have you off my case and be done with it. It would be so much easier than this."
"Which is what?"
"Difficult. And increasingly complicated."
"You said that there were things to work out."
"But Time Lords don't work things out!" The Rani snapped. "We copulate and get on with it or get married and get on with being miserable."
Kate laughed at that - albeit somewhat nervously. "That doesn't sound very pleasant."
The Time Lady just took in a deep breath and narrowed her eyes. "What do you want from me, Stewart?"
"I don't know," Kate admitted, "But I know that I don't want you to leave. And I know that I really do wish you'd call me Kate."
"...Kate...I think you're wanting something from me that I can't give."
"This is too early to even be a something," The blonde said softly but firmly, "I just want you to stay. You know...around."
"Well, I have to, don't I?" At the words, Kate looked at her questioningly. "We can say that we know the chemicals have no effects on humans, just Time Lords. You can say the Doctor popped in to visit you."
"That's quite a good idea, actually."
"Of course it is." The smugness in the Rani was actually strangely comforting for Kate - it was normal and expected, unlike the odd indecision that had been showing this morning.
"Of course we've still got about 30 hours to go before we can rule out humans being affected as well."
"And you still won't be letting me far out of your sight."
Kate smirked. "No. But I've got an idea for how to pass the time."
"Oh?" The Rani lifted a perfectly arched eyebrow.
"You can teach me chemistry, and biology. A lot can be learnt in 30 hours, and I think we'd both like it if I could keep up with you a bit better."
The Rani laughed. It was a barking and almost cruel laugh, but it was a laugh nonetheless. "Do you think you have the ability to learn anything even close to what I know?"
"Do you have the patience to teach it?" Kate challenged, and when the Rani faltered and glared, the blonde grinned triumphantly.
"Fine," The brunette said through gritted teeth.
And so the lessons began. They consisted of bursts of fast progress (the Rani's efficient knowledge and teaching) and almost regressive lulls (the Rani getting frustrated at over simplifying and Kate getting offended and them having to carefully neutralise each other before being able to continue).
After nearly five hours, Kate sank her head into the bench she was sitting at and loudly decreed no more.
"I need a break," She groaned, "A long, long break. Do you have tea?"
"Is that all you can think about?" The Rani sounded irritated, but when Kate looked up, she could have sworn that the alien looked relieved to be taking a break as well.
"Kitchen," Kate said flatly, holding her gaze, "Do you have one?"
"Of course I have one," came the snapped answer, "Just follow me." They walked together through the corridor and Kate couldn't keep a tired grin off her face. It didn't go unnoticed. "What?"
"I'm learning science."
"How astute of you."
"I'd hardly call it advanced."
"I think you like it."
The Rani rolled her eyes and continued on into the kitchen. "Just make your damn tea."
Kate just smirked and did exactly that. While she let it steep, the Rani made her own beverage which gave off an incredibly odd smell. "What's that you've got there?"
"Something Time Lords enjoy when they need energy. An equivalent to coffee, you could say."
"Can I try it?"
"It's poisonous to humans."
The sad thing is that I don't find that even mildly surprising, Kate thought to herself. "Just remind me not to kiss you any time soon, then."
"You'd only feel an effect if you drank half the cup, and only be dead if you drank the whole cup. I can assure you that my lips aren't hazardous to you."
Kate laughed. "Well, that's potentially up to debate, depending on one's definition of hazardous."
"If I didn't know better, I think you were trying to seduce me," The Rani said as she sipped her poisonous drink, before adding - almost like an afterthought, "Kate."
"Here? In your own TARDIS?" Kate pretended to be shocked. "I'm British, I do have manners. Only...hang on...you did seduce me in my own home, so I suppose if I were trying to seduce you, then it would all be evened out, wouldn't it?"
"I think it's safe to say that last night was a combined effort." The Rani yet again rolled her eyes.
"God, if someone had told me after we first met that I'd end up in the kitchen of your TARDIS casually discussing who seduced who, I'd have thought them madder than five Doctors all in one room," The blonde said thoughtfully, drinking a large gulp of her tea. "It's official. I'm mad. I've gone mad, the world's gone mad. And I can't decide if it's terrifyingly alright or just plain terrifying." The Rani just lifted an eyebrow and continued to sip her drink while looking rather amused by Kate's monologuing. "I mean...I've slept with a Time Lord. I'm in her TARDIS, drinking tea while she drinks poison, discussing just how ridiculous the situation is."
"Actually, I think I would need to be contributing to what is in fact a complete monologue at the moment, Kate."
"Your logic is less than helpful, Rani, I'm not in a particularly logical mood," Kate said with a frown as she stared at the wall. "Maybe we should get back to complex ionic bonding. Even that's less confusing than this."
So they went back to lessons for another couple of hours, until again Kate declared her need for a break.
"Early night, I think," She said to the Rani as they exited the TARDIS and emerged back into her living room, "It's been a pressing and almost lethal sort of day. Besides, anything to pass the time until these hours are up."
"I thought you wanted me to stay?"
Kate turned around to face her, surprise plain on her face. "I do. But it's restricting, this quarantine. I like being able to go places. Just because I want these hours up, doesn't mean I want you to leave. You're the most interesting thing that's happened to me in a long time, and my job is defending the planet from hostile aliens."
"But you want to sleep again?"
"Yes. For us humans it is a nightly occurrence."
The Rani looked from Kate, to Kate's bedroom door, to her TARDIS. "What about me?"
"Well, I know you won't want to sleep again, so you can do what you want in here or in there, really," Kate said reasonably. But then her voice shifted and she took a step forward. "But I was hoping you'd want to stay with me. For a while, at least."
"Just because you're there, doesn't mean sleep is any more-"
At that moment, Kate's hand cupped the back of the Rani's head and pulled her in for a quick, soft, almost tender kiss. "You're not under any sort of obligation. But for the record, sleep isn't exactly what I had in mind. At least not at first."
The corner of the Rani's mouth twitched. "You know, both of us could really use a shower. To further get rid of any remnants of that chemical."
A small smile crept onto Kate's face. "You know, that's a very good point."
I know it's short, but it has quite a different theme to the next chapter so I didn't want to overlap.
In other exciting news, the Doctor and Clara will feature in the next chapter! As will Kate's son, Gordon. Needless to say, reactions to this 'relationship' should be quite interesting. if they can't make sense of it, what in the world is everyone else going to think?
Hope you guys enjoyed this and still think it's in character. Please let me know! :)
Love you guys,
p.s. to my anonymous reviewer, no, sorry, there will not be an M rated scene as I want to keep this story at a T rating. And sometimes it's best to leave something to the imagination. :P