Collateral Damage
by Nostalgia

Rose has never kissed a girl before. Not seriously at least, not sober and without giggling. She's kissing Romana though. Kissing her properly and gasping into her mouth as Romana's fingers slip under her t-shirt and start peeling fabric from skin.

There are only two Time Lords left in the entire universe and Rose Tyler has kissed both of them. She starts to think about this, but then Romana's hands are working on her jeans and she stumbles back, falling onto the bed. They land entangled and Romana laughs and kisses her again.

Romana is beautiful; and in the month since Romana arrived, Rose has learned to live with conversations she can't keep track of and with the fact that Romana's bed doesn't appear to have been slept in. It helps that she hasn't got round to thinking of Romana as a permanent fixture.

Rose isn't exactly sure what she should be doing, but Romana's skin is soft under her hands and their bodies are gliding and sliding against each other and Romana is moaning quietly. Rose moves, places an ear against one of Romana's hearts and tastes skin that isn't quite salt and isn't quite sweet and is alien under her tongue.

Romana is careful and determined and all the things Rose remembers from sleepy fantasies about the Doctor. The lie is so vivid that when Romana goes down on her she almost forgets who she's with and has to bite back a name-that-isn't.

When she is almost almost almost there, Romana stops. Rose opens her eyes, follows the other woman's gaze, and sees the Doctor standing in the doorway, watching them with casual intensity.

Even if she could breathe slowly enough to form words, she doesn't know what to say. She tries to read the impassive look, looking for anger or sadness or arousal or jealousy or something else that she'd never recognise because it's something humans don't even know about.

Romana meets his gaze without blinking. "Aren't you going to join us?"

"Doesn't look like I'm really needed here," he says, so calmly and controlled that it has to be hiding something.

"I'm sure you can find something to contribute," says Romana. "Besides, you do nothing but meddle in things that don't concern you."

Rose wonders if she is a pawn in some battle of wits, and about the multiplying effect they seem to have on each other, and why she never noticed how fucked up they are. But she says "Please?" Unblinking, he moves from the doorway to sit on the edge of the bed and starts tracing patterns on Rose's stomach. "I don't think you ever really forgive someone for blowing up your planet," he says. Rose feels a shiver run down her spine, and knows that it's not just his fingertips she's reacting to. "But," he continues, "if there's only two of you left, you don't really have much choice, do you?"

"Which doesn't mean you don't want to hurt them a little," says Romana, leaning in and working at his clothes.

"And maybe they deserve it," he says, fingers working out a complex figure-eight on Rose's stomach as Romana's hand slips into his shirt.

Romana works on his belt. "They probably even like it."

Rose watches, knowing that she should run away and certain that she doesn't want to. "What about other people?" she asks, barely breathing.

"Collateral damage," says Romana, task complete and her eyes like ice. Rose watches them kiss, unsure which is predator and which is prey. There is a fierce intimacy to it that tells her not to look and demands that she does.

Hands reach for her and she is pulled into the battle, passed between the two of them until she can't tell which is which aside from a graze of stubble or a glimpse of blonde hair. Her body becomes a battleground, a litany of all the things that people do for love. It tingles and trembles and sings, wet and desperate between two combatants who have barely broken a sweat.

"Please," she repeats, and this time there's no doubt she'll get an answer.

Romana moves her hands along Rose's thighs, parting them gently as the mattress shifts and Rose feels a weight settle on top of her.

Romana slides a hand down to help their bodies fit together and Rose doesn't care that it's Romana's name he whispers when he finally slides into her. Before they can find a rhythm, Romana is pushing them over and Rose, pressed between them for a moment, thinks fleetingly about the fact that there are too many hearts in this bed. And then the aliens move.

She wants to protest that her life is too short for this, too brief for these lazy thrusts and slow caresses, but what emerges is barely even English.

Romana stills Rose's hips and kisses her throat. "These fragile little things you pick up," she murmurs. "How easily they break." She slides her hand down Rose's body, fingers finding just the right place. Rose feels a thrust and a twist and pinch and a mouth on her breast and she shatters. She falls forward and thinks that the game must be over because the Doctor catches her, stroking her back gently until she can breathe again.

She moves herself out from the tangle, retrieves her clothes as Romana takes her place. She tries not to watch them, but she can hear the bed creaking slow and steady, the Doctor gasping as Romana's nails scratch down his chest.

Rose heads for the door, and on the bed behind her the Time War continues.


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