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“Thought you might need some tea.”

Turlough didn’t look up as Tegan approached; his view remained fixed on the startlingly vibrant cityscape before them. After Frontios, the Doctor had decided to visit somewhere a little more populated, where their carefree meddling wouldn’t get them into trouble with the Time Lords (at least, not as much). The Doctor hadn’t, however, counted on Turlough’s sudden desire to be anti-social, or Tegan’s need for a real break from exploring. As a result, they did not visit the city, lounging about instead, both inside and out of, the TARDIS.

“Rabbits! I’d’ve brought a blanket too, if I’d realized how cold it was out here,” she complained. It almost felt like she was talking to herself, the way he was so completely unresponsive.

Turlough sat with his knees drawn to his chest, arms wrapped around them protectively. She drew to a halt, standing beside him, holding the cup of tea in her hands. The TARDIS had landed on a hill and the city lay like a carpet of sapphire and topaz beyond them, stretching out in a seemingly endless ocean of light. Turlough’s eyes were fixed on some distant point, but Tegan kept her attention riveted on his profile. Whether he’d not noticed her yet or was simply ignoring her, she couldn’t tell.

“Hey,” she said, her tone softening. She tucked her skirt beneath her, settling on the damp grass beside him. “Tea. I didn’t go through all the trouble of preparing it just for you to ignore it.”

At last Turlough turned to her, attention not on her face, but the cup. His expression was dour, his eyes downcast. It was a look Tegan had grown accustom to seeing on him, but she thought it somehow seemed even more severe tonight; perhaps it was just the dusky lighting.

The TARDIS stood behind them about twenty feet away, the light from its windows and sign the only significant illumination. The planet either had no moons or they hadn’t yet risen. Despite the sparkling city, the lack of light made their surroundings somewhat spooky.

“If you don’t want it, at least say so,” Tegan snapped. She didn’t mean to be cruel, but Turlough’s lethargy and silence was unsettling her.

“Thanks,” he finally said, his voice low and soft. He unwrapped his hands from his knees, reaching to take the cup from her.

For the briefest of moments, their fingertips brushed. Turlough’s hands were as cold as ice. “If you’re going to insist on staying out here, I’m going back to get a blanket,” Tegan announced.

Once again, Turlough didn’t reply. He just brought the cup to his lips, blew the top layer of liquid cool, and sipped delicately.

Huffing, Tegan pushed to her feet, wobbling a bit in her heels on the damp grass. She left the boy sitting there. Determined as she was to crack him out of his reverie, she planned to keep herself warm at the same time. He’d been acting stranger and stranger recently, especially since Frontios, and it was more than unnerving: it was starting to concern her. It was a rather impressive feat, Turlough withdrawing into himself, and not having someone to regularly fight with was stifling.

The Doctor was still buried somewhere in the TARDIS, doing repairs or reading or something else, but Tegan didn’t see him during her excursion back inside. She raided the Wardrobe Room for a long duster for herself and found a thick, wooly blanket to bring out for Turlough.

When she exited again, she found him still seated where she’d left him, the teacup still in his hands. His skin glinted as white as the china.

“Here,” she said, unceremoniously draping the blanket around his shoulders as she dropped to her knees beside him. “Honestly, what’s wrong with you?”

Turlough bowed his head, like the weight of the blanket was dragging him down. One hand still held the teacup, but the other dropped to the ground. His palm skirted over the damp blades of grass. “I’m not sure I deserve to be here,” he finally said, his voice subdued.

Tegan settled on her rear end, tucking her legs beneath her, unsettled by the statement. It reminded her of when they’d been on Terminus together, and Turlough had been new and frightening and untrustworthy and yet had shown her the first sign of his humanity by asking if she could kill someone in cold blood. At the time, it hadn’t been a comforting notion coming from him, but on later reflection she realized it was the most honest he’d ever been with her, before or since. “What kind of question is that?” she retorted, loudly. She was having a difficult time dealing with this somber version of Turlough.

He didn’t answer, just easily moved on, changing the topic. “Do you know how my people dealt with the Tractators?”

“How should I know?” Tegan muttered. “I’m just a human, remember?”

At last he fixed her with a severe glare. It wasn’t the impassioned retort she’d expected, but it was better than him staring at the city with moony eyes, so she was pleased. “You’re being difficult on purpose,” he flatly said.

She rewarded him with a toothy smile. “Your tea is getting cold.”

He turned back to his drink and Tegan watched him. Talking to Turlough was like walking a tightrope. He’d presented an invitation to her, offering to tell her about something of his past. He’d never done that before. Yet she had to dissuade him; she knew talking to him had to have the perfect amount of give and take.

“It’s bitter,” he complained, sipping anyway.

“Make it yourself next time, then,” she retorted.

They fell into comfortable silence after that. Turlough’s palm continued to brush lightly against the grass, and his gaze returned to the city. “We’ve always been a warring people,” he explained in soft tones. “Even the forgotten cultures on my planet, the ones lost in the rainforests or hidden in the mountains, wage their own sort of primitive wars.”

Tegan pulled the duster coat she’d donned tighter around her. The air was cool, but not terribly cold—it was Turlough’s words that were chilling her.

“The Tractators arrived before recorded history. They enslaved my people, made us into horrors for their benefit. We wielded rocks and sticks and they drove us with lasers and telepathy. Then, some cataclysmic event happened—a meteor, perhaps, or an ice age—and the bugs couldn’t survive it. They died—we’ve found fossils of them for centuries, buried underground—and we adapted.” He glanced at her, perhaps judging to see how she was taking the information.

She met his gaze with a firm look of her own, silently encouraging him.

“A thousand years of slavery and finally my people were free. Do you know what they did, instead of rejoicing in their freedom?” Tegan shook her head; of course she didn’t know. “They fought. They destroyed everything the Tractators had brought, and then they destroyed each other. Those wars still rage on. Perhaps not for the same reasons, but the battles continue.” His hand stopped brushing over the grass, curling instead into a fist. “Some people say we are the Tractators, evolved over the millennia into this.” His hand gestured with disgusted contempt at himself.

“This is the home you want to return to so badly?” Tegan skeptically asked.

Turlough’s shoulders slumped. “It isn’t all bad,” he confessed. “I never said I wanted to return, anyway.” Glancing at her, she felt his penetrating gaze. “I’m mostly curious to see if the last war is still going, or if a victor has emerged.”

She wanted to ask him, for the first time since meeting him, how he’d arrived on Earth, trapped in that public school. The question had brewed in her mind in the past, but she had always squashed it because she wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer—and because she’d assumed he’d lie. At that moment she felt if she asked, he would have confessed. “Were you a soldier?” she questioned. He didn’t look or act like one, so she wasn’t sure where the question had come from.

He flinched at her words, using both hands now to hold the cup. His gaze returned the city lights, far below. Whatever memories he was reliving, he didn’t share them with Tegan. Several minutes passed in silence, while the question hung between them. At last he finished off the tea, setting the cup down in the grass. “It’s getting cold; you should go inside.”

He pulled the blanket around him tighter as she watched. Some part of her told herself to get up and go, to leave the alien boy alone with his alien memories. The human part of her stayed though, forcing both her curiosity as well as her compassion. “You didn’t want to go with us to drop the Gravis off because you were scared of him, weren’t you?” Turlough’s continued silence told her perhaps she should have rephrased her question.

“It was ancestral instinct, anyway,” he finally said in a rather dismissive tone. “You wouldn’t understand.”

“I’m not as stupid as you think,” Tegan sharply retorted.

Challenging, he fixed his icy gaze on her and said, “What’s your earliest memory?”

She felt assaulted by his look; his stare was penetrating and fierce. She looked away, focusing on the city instead of him, and hoped it didn’t appear that it was just because she couldn’t meet his eyes. “I don’t know,” she muttered. “Playing in the fields outside of my grandfather’s old farm in Brisbane, I guess.”

Turlough snorted; she knew he would.

Hackles raised, she found the strength to stare him down. “And I suppose yours is coming down the birthing canal, right?” she snapped.

His eyes narrowed. “You have a filthy mouth, Tegan. Especially for a human.”

From him, that sounded almost like praise. She noticed he was looking at said dirty mouth and not her eyes. “That’s not an answer,” she protested, eager to move the conversation along.

“Why are you even out here?” he asked.

He was very effectively avoiding her again, and she didn’t know if that made her hate him or admire him. She decided to be oblique. “The Doctor’s insufferable right now,” she began. “And it doesn’t make much sense to stay cooped up in the TARDIS when we’re on a strange new alien planet, does it?”

“You’re not seeing much of it sitting here with me, either,” he pointed out in that oily smooth voice that meant he was mocking her.

“Well, I’m hardly about to go traipsing through an alien city in the middle of the night alone!” Tegan countered.

“We could go together,” Turlough suggested.

“You’re mad,” she replied.

He put his hands behind him, curving his back to stretch out his long legs. “You still don’t trust me, do you?”

“It’s the strangers in town I don’t trust,” she smoothly replied.

“You’re no fun,” he admonished.

“Why are you out here?” she pointedly asked. “You could be out there,” she gestured to the city lights, “doing . . . whatever it is you want to do.”

“As opposed to sitting on a hill, bickering with a human?” His eyes slid across to focus on her again, this time noticeably sizing her up.

She shifted somewhat uncomfortably. “I just came out here to try to help. You haven’t been the same since Frontios,” she bluntly said, effectively drawing his eyes off her; they returned to looking at the city. She felt a pang of sadness rip through her; his walls had risen up around him again. It felt like kicking a small dog. She knew he’d react that way, she’d wanted to distract him and deliver a blow, and yet she hated the way it made her feel so guilty.

“I don’t need your help,” he bitterly replied.

“You’re the most ungrateful person I’ve ever met,” Tegan remarked.

“Thank you,” he sarcastically said.

They fell into another bout of silence after that. Turlough seemed to be content to sit without saying anything, but it was nearly torturous for her to remain quiet so long. She watched him out of the corner of her eye. He fiddled with his hands constantly, pulling the blanket about his shoulders more, tugging at the hem of his trousers. Sometimes his just rubbed his palms together.

She wondered if he was still as cold as he’d been before.

To break the silence, she said, “Don’t you think it’s amazing how we all met? A Time Lord, an Earth woman and a . . . a boy from wherever it is you’re from. Pretty extraordinary for us all to come together, isn’t it?”

“When you breathe the local air, which was partially expelled from the Big Bang billions of years ago, do you wonder the same thing?” he bitingly asked. “How did all those molecules get from there to here? Isn’t it extraordinary the way it all comes together?”

His voice was back to its usual insulting tone, and it made Tegan’s hackles rise in defense again. “You don’t have to be so rude,” she muttered.

Turlough studied her, but she stared at her knees while he did so.

At last he said, “Yes,” and his voice was kind.

When she looked up, he was smiling at her. It was genuine and quite frankly floored her. It took her several seconds to regain her senses, and several more to backtrack to figure out what the hell he was saying ‘Yes’ to. “Turlough?” she asked, uncertainly.

He threw his head back, looking up into the sky. “It is all amazing, isn’t it? That I should be put in that ridiculous British school, that you should wander into the TARDIS, that he should agree to keep us, that fate should intertwine our very disparate fortunes together in such an unusual way.” His face remained upturned to the stars, but he tilted it just a bit, so he could gaze upon her instead. “I often wonder what for.”

His turn around on the topic took the floor out from beneath her; the smile he wore was bewildering; the glitter in his eyes quite alluring. For once, she was utterly at a lost for things to say in reply.

Seeing he’d stumped her, his smile grew broader. “You look cold,” he noted, though she wasn’t. Before she could reply, he scooted closer, opening up the blanket on one side, to drape it around her.

It was warmed by his body heat and fell heavy and comforting about her shoulders. Tegan hadn’t been cold, but as their shoulders pressed together and she tugged the blanket over her legs, she realized she was suddenly much warmer. “Why don’t you think you deserve this?” she asked, at last.

She felt his body tense beside her, just for a moment. He was all elbows and jagged edges in the daylight, but at night, under the warmth of the blanket, he seemed somehow softer.

In a quiet voice he said, “My whole life is built on lies.”

It was as close to a confession as she’d ever heard from him. “Everybody lies sometimes,” she replied, keeping her tone low to match. “You asked me once if I could ever kill someone in cold blood. I said I didn’t know. I’ve thought about that a lot, since then. The Master killed my Aunt Vanessa, you know. I blame the Cybermen for Adric’s death. A lot of people died that day, and I shot more than one Cyberman myself. I think I would kill someone, if it meant I could stop those deaths from happening. I’m not sure what that says about me as a person anymore.”

Turlough shifted beside her, not closer or further away, just rearranging himself. It felt somehow comfortable.

“I’ve never killed anyone,” he admitted. “I’ve been ordered to before, but I never could.”

“The Black Guardian?” she asked.

He nodded in response. “And before that, when I was back home. They wanted to make a soldier out of me, but I was the son of a successful politician and useless at something like that. I spent my days sleeping and my nights playing games and spending money. I was eventually enlisted, but when they put me on the front lines I utterly froze.”

Turlough wasn’t done speaking, but she could tell he was sorting through memories, reliving bad experiences. She waited patiently, trying to mentally radiate goodwill toward him. Her fingers dropped to the grass, skirting over the blades as she’d seen him do; it took only a few seconds to realize his hand was already there, doing the same thing.

For the briefest of seconds, their fingers touched again. Tegan started, shocked at the icy coldness she still felt.

“Relax,” he said, the bitterness returning. He folded his hands in his lap. “I’m not going to hurt you, you know.”

“You’re so cold,” she blurted.

That caused Turlough to raise an eyebrow. “Maybe you’re just warm.”

That send her mind reeling and she had to act quickly to keep focused. “How long were you on Earth before you found the Doc?”

“Why?”

The quickly ricocheted return stumped her. She realized she hadn’t asked because she particularly cared, but because she needed to stall to think up a better reply. The way he looked told her he knew that was why she had asked such an off-topic question, and that he wasn’t going to let her play games. “So you were a lousy soldier, then,” she said instead. “I know it’s not much from me, but I consider that a good thing.”

His smile was sly and his tone teasing. “Funny. You seem like the sort of girl who likes macho, gun wielding men.”

“Hardly!” she cried. “I prefer brains over brawn any day.”

“Ironic then, that you’re lacking both.”

“Hey!” she retorted, shoving her shoulder into him. “Just ‘cause I can’t calibrate the time whatsit to the space doohickey doesn’t mean I’m not smart! I graduated airhostess school, didn’t I? And quite young, I might add!”

“You love to rub your age in, don’t you? Like it’s some great accomplishment you were born earlier than I was,” he said. “Congratulations, Tegan: you’re old. Most girls your age would be scrabbling to hang on to their youth.”

Tegan’s jaw dropped, honestly stunned by his comment. “You act as though I’m pushing forty! I’ll have you know, I’m only twenty-three!”

Turlough grinned lazily. “I think your indignant face is my favorite.” Seeing she was still stunned, he continued. “How proud you are of such a mundane thing as aging.”

She finally closed her mouth and seriously considered pushing to her feet, stalking back inside and taking the blanket with her. “Hell’s teeth, Turlough. It’s no wonder they banished you from your home world. Who’d want someone like you around? Every word from your mouth is an insult of some kind.”

Turlough was calm when he spoke, his legs still stretched out on the grass before him. “I had a girlfriend back home, you know. She was very fond of my mouth.”

“You’re disgusting,” she said.

“Oh, don’t be such a prude, Tegan,” he snapped. “If you’re really twenty-three, then act your age.”

She folded her hands in her lap, fiddling with the end of her thumbnail. Being told to act her age by someone wearing a school uniform was unsettling, even if it was Turlough. She didn’t like to doubt herself, but sometimes she wondered—she tried to act the adult so often but was she even remotely successful? Could Turlough see right through her attempts to keep everything under control?

“Oh, don’t sulk,” he muttered. “That’s my job.”

“I’m not sulking,” she retorted quickly.

“Well, I am. Which is why you should go back inside.”

She fiddled under the blankets again, playing with one of the buttons on the duster. “I was trying to help,” she pointed out.

“I’m not British,” Turlough answered. “Tea isn’t my cure all.”

“I know that,” Tegan snapped. “I’m not British either, you know.”

Turlough surprised her once again by not bickering further with her. Instead he said, “I appreciate the concern, wasted though it is.”

“ ‘Wasted’?” Tegan repeated, grasping on to the bit of the sentence that made sense to her. “Are all of your people this ungrateful, or just you?”

“Are all Australians as loud and as annoying as you?” he countered.

“If you want me to leave, just say so,” she said.

“I have. Several times.”

“Well!” She balked. “Well, fine!” Moving her legs beneath her, she got to her knees, preparing to stalk off in a huff.

Cold fingers wrapped around her wrist, halting her.

She glared down at him critically, waiting for him to say something, but he didn’t. Their eyes met, for a moment, and she was overcome by the sad loneliness she saw in their depths. Without really thinking about it, she settled back down beside him. “Wish I’d brought myself some tea,” she muttered, drawing the blanket back up around her shoulders again.

Turlough’s fingers stayed on her wrist just a moment longer before releasing and folding back into his lap. “Two years,” he said, softly.

“What?”

“Two years I was on Earth, before I met the Doctor.”

She didn’t know why he was telling her that; she didn’t even know why she’d asked it in the first place. “You sure picked up English fast.”

He smiled, but it was sad. “We’re good with languages.”

“More talent with your mouth, huh?” she teased.

She’d hoped to elicit a smile from him, but when he turned to look at her, he just seemed impossibly sad and lonely. Two years he’d been away from his home, on an alien world that he obviously considered backwater. Now he was trapped on the TARDIS with her and the Doctor, neither of whom he seemed to get along particularly well with. And he’d had to fight off the temptations of the Black Guardian, and now Tractators.

“I don’t really miss my family,” he said softly. “What’s left of them, that is. But I had friends, back home. I haven’t had friends in such a long time.”

“Hey, we’re friends, aren’t we?” Tegan said, nudging into him.

He gave her a sidelong gaze, his pale eyes narrowed to slits. “You don’t even trust me. How can we be friends?”

“Well, I consider you a friend. Perhaps not my best friend . . ..”

At last, he smiled. It was a soft smile and it didn’t quite reach his eyes, but it looked quite nice on him.

“It’s funny,” Tegan said, drawing her knees up to her chest. “I don’t miss much about Earth. I thought I would—hamburgers and movies and rock and roll—but I really don’t. Being out here, traveling through time and space with you and the Doctor. Can’t beat that.”

“You missed the third Star Wars film,” he noted casually.

“I never was much for sci-fi, actually,” she pointed out.

There was a pause as she realized quite what she’d said. Turlough had frozen up too, waiting for her to catch herself. Shaking her head at her contradictions, she burst into laughter and he joined her. It felt good, sitting on a hill overlooking some alien world, laughing with someone she considered a friend. Sure, she was laughing at her own expense, but sometimes that was the best sort of laughter.

After they had sobered, he craned his neck back, looking up at the stars. “How long has it been since you’ve been with a man, Tegan?” he asked the stars.

Excuse me?” she cried.

“You heard me.”

“Not that it’s any of your business,” she chided.

“Three years, for me,” he plainly said.

“Since you’ve been with a man?” she mocked.

He glanced at her. “Two, for that,” he answered, his grin returning. “If you could call him a man.”

Her mouth opened for several seconds, trying to think of something to say to that. He wasn’t human, of course, but that didn’t really help. How could he keep making her speechless?

“Well?” he prodded.

“Long enough,” she tersely replied, just to pacify him.

“The Doctor really doesn’t give us much shore leave, does he?”

She crossed her arms. “I’m sure there’s a brothel out there, if you want,” she snapped, inclining her head toward the sparkling city. “You probably need to get laid, arrogant and moody bitch that you are.”

“I could say the same for you,” he returned, chuckling deeply.

She glared at him and noticed him looking at her. There couldn’t be much to see, between the blanket and the coat, but it made her skin tense nonetheless. It had been a long time indeed since someone had looked at her quite that way. “I don’t like what you’re thinking,” she stated.

“Do you ever?” After a beat, he added, “Why not?” His voice was smooth and sounded uncomfortably confident.

She was suddenly too aware of where their arms pressed together. “Well, for starters, you’re an alien!”

“So much for the open mindedness of 20th Century Earth,” he mused.

“Second, you’re in Sixth Form!” she rebuked. “You’re still wearing your school uniform, for Pete’s sake!”

This caused Turlough to break into a wide, naughty grin. “Well, if it’s the uniform that’s bothering you, I could certainly remove it.”

He made to do so and for some reason she didn’t immediately stop him.

“You’re serious about this, aren’t you?” she asked, watching as he shrugged out of the jacket, revealing bony shoulders that poked against the dress shirt and vest he wore beneath it.

Instead of answering he said, “Would it be easier if I said I’m older than I look?”

“No,” she answered. “Yes. Are you?”

“Yes,” he answered and she knew he was lying, but it helped anyway.

He loosened his tie next, something she’d seen him do a dozen times before, but never quite like this. She had to notice the little things—how long his fingers were and what that meant, how nice his neck looked in the moonlight, how languidly he moved. The blanket was draped over just her now as he made a show of disrobing. The vest soon joined the coat and the tie on the grass and he started unbuttoning his shirt.

His eyes finally flicked up to meet hers and she flushed, aware now she was staring. “I’m going back into the TARDIS, Turlough,” she stated. To make her point, she pushed herself to her feet, wobbling again on her heels, but determined not to back down.

He rose too, shirt half undone, and stepped toward her. She’d never realized quite how tall he was until he was standing that close and looking down at her. “You’re mad,” she muttered, tearing her eyes off his. She focused, instead, on the silver of pale flesh she could see between the open folds of his shirt.

His touch, on her cheek, was like ice, and it burned. “Tegan,” he said, his tone somewhat huskier than normal. Or was she just imaging that? “Tell me to stop.”

“What?” She looked back up at him. It was absurd seeing him there in such a state of undress. She knew what the look in his eyes meant.

His thumb began to trace a small pattern on her jaw line. “Do you want me to?”

“To what?” she repeated.

He grinned at her reply and then bent and kissed her.

Fire raced from her lips to her toes and she wondered how someone so chiseled out of ice could be so very hot. It was brief, and she made it that way, stepping back away from him almost immediately. She drew the blanket around her shoulders more, focusing her eyes on a distant point that wasn’t him. Her heart was pounding in her chest and her body was tingling, but she was quite certain that this shouldn’t be happening.

“Are you afraid?” he asked.

The question made her bristle. “No, of course not!” His easy smile told her that was exactly the reaction he’d been expecting from her. She glowered at him, frustrated she could be manipulated. “If this is all just a game to you,” she began heatedly.

He stepped closer, his hand returning to her cheek. “Come now, Tegan,” he said softly. “Do you think so little of me?” His other hand deftly unwound the blanket from around her shoulders. That he laid it out on the grass instead of dropping it in a heap didn’t go unnoticed. “You can pretend I’m someone else, if you’d like. I won’t mind.”

“I wouldn’t,” she answered. “And I’m quite capable of servicing myself when I need to, thank you very much,” she retorted. “I imagine you are too. There’s no need for you to be—”

“So forward?” he finished. He was grinning still, looming closer again. Her eyes fixed on his mouth and she wondered how he really tasted. Was his mouth as filthy as his words, or was there something worth finding therein? Kissing wasn’t something she could do by herself. Soft touches on her face, like he gave, were on a different level entirely. The human—humanoid, she reminded herself—contact was something she desperately missed and she had to fight hard to deny that she did.

Without the blanket she already felt naked. The heavy duster she wore seemed like nothing at all as he touched her cheek. The moment was utterly unreal, so it didn’t seem as though it was her who raised her hands and placed them on Turlough’s chest. It wasn’t her whose fingers spread out over the fabric of his shirt, feeling muscles and taut flesh tense.

His hands were cold, but his body was near and warm and solid. She felt like she was playing into his game as she stepped just a bit closer, and perhaps she was, but some part of her said maybe this was a game worth losing.

She didn’t speak, just closed her eyes as he bent again, kissing first her curved neck, where her shoulder met the coat, then he kissed her jaw. He was being sweet and tender and it was unnerving her. It all felt so fake. This was Turlough, after all.

“If you’re going to do it,” she finally managed, turning her hands into fists on his shirt, clutching the fabric to pull him closer, “at least put some effort into it.” She kissed him hard then, taking control of the situation, pushing onto her toes to get the leverage she needed.

He rocked back on his heels at first in surprise, before returning the kiss with a vengeance. His hands dropped to her waist, holding her tight.

It wasn’t sweetness she tasted when she kissed him, nor filth—just the predictable remnants of tea, and perhaps something slightly copper. It seemed somehow appropriate, and she found she enjoyed it more than she cared to admit.

She didn’t remember being divested of it but soon found the coat on the ground at her feet and Turlough’s hands pushing up her blouse. His fingers on her skin sent electric shocks through her—his touch was still freezing. “Rabbits,” she hissed, twitching out of his grasp to catch his hand in hers. “You’re freezing.”

His eyes were bewildered and a little lost when he looked at her. She found the desire dilating his eyes to black was unnervingly arousing. “I’m sorry,” he said as though it were a confession. “I can’t help it.”

“Shh,” she crooned, pulling his hand to her mouth to kiss it. She kept her eyes on him, watching his every reaction as she pulled one of his cold fingers into her warm mouth. The small noise he made in the back of his throat was more of a turn on to her than any of the kisses they’d exchanged. His eyes were wide as he watched her, and she just grinned around his fingers.

Once the finger in her mouth was warmed, she pulled another in, working perhaps a little too much in her ministrations. Turlough’s mouth was open as he watched her and she thought he looked frighteningly young to have that sort of wanton expression on his face. She closed her eyes for several moments to block out his face, but found it just wasn’t as enjoyable. She could control Turlough like this. She’d never used or wanted to use sex for power, but there was something to be said about being coerced into a sexual relationship with an alien and coming out the victor because her fuse was longer than his.

“So,” she said, removing his fingers from her mouth, “I guess that establishes that you react exactly in the way I’d expect a fourteen-year-old boy to react.”

He chuckled in the back of his throat. “Much older than that, Tegan,” he said, and she was surprised his voice was as steady as it was. “And you just have to remember: it’s been two years.”

“Too right,” she agreed and the hand she’d left on his chest dropped, skirting over the folds of his fabric until she was touching the jutting bone of his pelvis. “Don’t you ever eat? You’re so thin.”

“You can’t touch me there and talk about food, Tegan,” he growled.

“Can’t I?” she mused, arching an eyebrow as she looked up at him. “And here I thought I was going to have myself a meal.” She pressed her palm against the obvious bulge in his trousers, delighting in the way it made Turlough hiss and close his eyes.

“And she says I have a filthy mouth,” Turlough announced to the world.

His hands had been pawing at her shirt, but they abandoned the effort and rose to her shoulders. She knew, immediately, what that meant, but waited until he applied pressure before she allowed herself to sink to her knees. Her assent alone made Turlough gurgle, pleased. The noises he made were all the incentive she needed.

He got off on seeing her bend willingly to him; she got off on being able to so easily break his stoic veneer. She nuzzled his trousers, nudging her cheek against his erection. His hand fell to her short hair, not quite gripping but getting into place. She was reminded of the last time she’d been in this position with someone and was struck by how much hotter this was, and by how much more she wanted to give it to Turlough than she had to the last guy she’d been with.

It was baffling because she’d never really considered Turlough that way before. In fact, not too long ago, she’d been wishing for his death.

Maybe that was it: they were adversaries, in a sense. Opposites really did attract.

“Come on, Tegan,” he groaned, his free hand going to undo the fastenings of his trousers. “There’ll be room for contemplation next time.”

“ ‘Next time’?” she echoed incredulously, looking up at him. “You think there’s going to be a ‘next time’?”

He fixed her with an intent glare. There was a desperate sort of pleading look in his eyes and it thrilled her. He worked his lips back into its familiar sneer, though she delighted to see that it took him some effort. Cockily, he said, “Well, I’m sure I could deign to a second time, but we have to have start with a first, you know.”

She snorted. Leave it to him to twist the words like that. A second time, indeed! He’d be lucky if he survived the first. “Look,” she said, pulling back enough from him to elicit a groan of complaint. “If you think I’m kowtowing to you and doing this, you’ve got another thing coming.”

“Coming is the idea, Tegan,” he thickly said.

She rolled her eyes and stuck her fingers in his belt loops. His trousers were hanging precariously on his hips, but she didn’t pull them down, instead using the loops for leverage to pull him down. “You spread that blanket out for a reason, Turlough. Now lay on it.”

For a moment, he looked like he was going to protest—she was usurping control of the situation again. He’d started the seduction, but if she was going to go through with this, she was going to commandeer it. Realizing that resisting potentially meant not getting any further than they currently were, Turlough conceded. He sank down onto the blanket, leaning back on his elbows. “You know, I’d assumed you’d be the one on your back, Tegan.”

His overuse of her name was starting to grate. She’d have to do something about his ability to talk. “Don’t ever assume with me,” she snapped, though not rudely. Without any further preamble, she deftly tugged his trousers down about his narrow hips, revealing his underwear.

“Enjoying the view?” he asked, watching her through heavily lidded eyes. He ran a hand down his chest, managing to unbutton the rest of his shirt as he did. It hung open on both sides, revealing his pale chest. “Hardly seems fair,” he noted, eyes lifting to take Tegan’s apparel in stock.

She was well aware that she was still fully dressed and that that wasn’t entirely fair. Still, he didn’t seem terribly perturbed by it. She figured he had other things on his mind. “Life isn’t fair,” she noted. “Would figure you’d noticed that by now.”

Turlough’s long fingers ran over the skin of his belly, grazing over his navel. “Oh, believe me, I have.” His eyes left hers, traveling to look at his erection straining against his underwear. “Are you afraid, Tegan?”

“Don’t be absurd,” she snapped, focusing now on the same thing.

“It’s quite harmless, really. My people are rather like yours, anatomically. You do know what to do with it, don’t you?”

He was mocking her again, goading her into action. The intended reaction would be her not saying yes, but showing she knew exactly what to do, through action. The fire welled in her, making her want to tug down his underpants and get right to work, but she resisted. Doing as was expected was playing into his hands again, giving control back to him. She wasn’t ready to do that.

“I imagine the art of foreplay is lost on the men of your world as well, huh?” she amusedly mocked. “Hardly surprising.”

“The bit where we were standing?” Turlough said, readjusting himself on his elbows. “What wasn’t foreplay-y about that?”

“It was for you, maybe. I don’t recall much happening for me.”

He sat up then, hands reaching out for her, pulling her close. “I figured you’d want to get this over and done with so we could never speak of it again,” he said languidly. “But if you’d rather draw it out and risk the Doctor discovering us mid-coitus, I can certainly oblige.” His smile seemed unnatural in the shadows cast by the city lights.

The way he was fumbling with her left breast rather endeared him to her in a way she’d never expected it to. Any other moment in time she imagined she’d be slapping him hard on the cheek for being so brazen. He was trying though. Undoubtedly he was painfully aware at how inexperienced he actually was, and overcompensating for it with all manner of embarrassing bravado. Why she’d expected anything less of him was beyond her.

“You’re cute, Turlough,” she said, pushing his hand away. He looked somewhat offended and about to protest, but she silenced him by straddling his hips. She was still dressed, but she pressed her body down on his erection and delighted in the way it made him flop onto his back as though rendered boneless.

Despite the fabric between them, she had to admit it felt pretty damn good to her, too.

“What happened to foreplay?” Turlough groaned.

“I decided you were rubbish at it,” she said whilst divesting him of his trousers and underwear. He lifted his hips to help and that was a new sensation all of its own. She had to struggle not to make any embarrassing noises. In the end, when he was free, she sat back on his thighs a bit, to appraise what she had to work with.

“You’re a tease,” he hissed.

“Thank you,” she brightly replied.

She pressed her thumb to the base of his length, marveling slightly over the fair color of his pubic hair. She dimly realized she’d never been with a red head before, though why this amused her so much she couldn’t quite pinpoint. “Not bad,” she mused, running her thumb up along the vein, delighting in the way it made him throw his head back and close his eyes.

She continued to explore him casually, noting every way in which he seemed identical to his human counterparts. She half wondered if he wasn’t lying about his alienness, too. It wouldn’t make sense, given the knowledge he had of other worlds, but it was easier to believe he was making it all up than to believe it was true.

Even after all she’d seen it was still had to believe any of it was real.

“What’re you doing?” he groaned.

His husky voice brought her out of her thoughts and she realized she’d stopped exploring him. She gave a sheepish grin. “Just thinking.”

“Well, think more actively,” he ordered, squirming to push his hips against her hand. She compiled, stroking him in a very basic manner. He sighed in content. “That’s better,” he murmured.

The sight of him spread out like this for her was doing wonders for her self-esteem, but beyond getting her panties damp, she wasn’t deriving much pleasure from it. “Sit up,” she commanded. He did so, but not without considerable contemplation. She remained kneeling over his thighs, her thumb lazily brushing away and rubbing in the bit of moisture collecting at the tip of his erection.

His eyes were hooded, his irises almost entirely swallowed by the size of his pupils. Up close, she could see his cheeks were flushed. His breath came in low, shallow pants. She directed his hands, putting one on her shoulder, for leverage, whilst taking the other and dragging it down between her legs.

For a moment he did nothing. Then, as she pressed his hand to the cloth of her panties, his eyes suddenly sharpened and he focused on her face. “This works two ways, you know,” she said, shifting a little at his touch.

“Tegan,” he began, but she silenced his incessant use of her name by kissing him.

It apparently worked because while before he had seemed somewhat dazed by what was happening, the kissing seemed to invigorate him. His mouth instantly worked hard against hers, full of heat and warmth. His fingers seemed to finally remember what to do as well, and though the touch was headying, she forced herself not to get carried away with it, giving him back only as good as he gave.

After several minutes, she pulled upright, helping him tug her panties off. She had never admired much about Turlough before, always finding him to be harsh and sharp in ways she didn’t like, but there was no denying that his long, thin fingers were coming in handy now. She whimpered, despite herself, and decided this had gone on long enough—if she wanted to maintain any control or dignity, she needed to get it over with.

After all, if she really missed it or enjoyed it overly, he had mentioned a second time.

“Hey,” he protested in what was a half-gasp as she took her hand off him for several seconds. Her smile, though she couldn’t see it, was undoubtedly wicked. “Ohhhh,” he groaned as she returned, positioning him.

She thought about easing him in, perhaps letting him mutter comforting words in her ear as though she was scared. It’d be amusing to hear him reassuring her, but she figured he’d enjoy the frail girl image that that would produce too much. So she moved quickly, gripping his shoulders and rocking her hips forward with one fast motion.

For the first second, he didn’t do anything but tremble. It was endearing, but endearing wasn’t exactly the trait she was looking for anymore. “C’mon,” she breathed, rolling onto him again. His hand dropped from her shoulder to her hips as he came back to himself, letting out a hiss of breath as he worked against her.

Just as she began to lament the loss of his hand between her legs, it returned, and in pleasant tandem to the rest of what he was now doing. She finally began to believe that perhaps all that boasted-about ‘experience’ he had wasn’t entirely fabricated. With him showing off some of his skills, she returned the favor as best she could; it had been a while indeed since she’d had a lover who warranted more than just her lying on her back.

The way he clung to her sent chills through her body. He rocked her on his thighs, bending his neck until his face could press between the curve of her shoulder and her neck. His mouth occasionally kissed the flesh there, but mostly he just puffed out jets of warm air, and let out faint whimpers of pleasure.

She ran her hands along his back, marveling as she did over how much tension and muscle she felt beneath the flesh. She’d always seen Turlough as a scrawny little thing, but at that moment she realized he was tall, sinewy and lank. He possessed a great deal of hidden strength.

Letting out a guttural cry, his pace heightened and she found herself clinging to him more than exploring. Whatever pent up sexual energy he’d been harboring from before was certainly being unleashed now. His head rose off her neck, bowed as he concentrated on his task. It was she, in the end, who pressed her cheek against his collarbone.

After several minutes, as she felt him nearing the climax, she dropped her hand between them, to assist him. She was unable to touch him any further, but she took over for the hand he had on her. That way she was able to bring herself to climax just as he finally arched his back and shot into her.

They clung to each other for several long seconds after, like two virgins over powered by the force of their own bodies. Tegan dimly realized she’d never actually climaxed at the same time as one of her partners before, and had to laugh at the irony of that. It’d always seemed like such a romance novel cliché.

“What’s so funny?” he thickly asked, mouth right against her ear.

Goose pimples rose up along her arms and back and she was acutely aware of their compromising position, arms wrapped around each other, faces pressed cheek to cheek, nearly everything visible beneath the starlight sky. “Nothing,” she answered, pulling back just a bit.

Maybe she should have waited a bit longer, because pulling back meant having to look into his eyes, and she hadn’t quite prepared to do that so soon. There still wasn’t much light on the hill, but his eyes seemed to sparkle nonetheless. She forced a smile and scooted back on his thighs, slipping him out. “I’d better go wash up,” she quickly replied and swung her leg off, settling on the blanket. She looked for her underwear.

“Fuck and run, huh?” Turlough drawled. If he was concerned about his exposed physique he didn’t show it.

“I’m a mess!” Tegan protested. She adjusted her skirt, which had ridden up, so it fell decently again. Then she ran a hand through her hand and immediately regretted doing so. “You are too, for that matter.”

“See, this is why bedrooms were invented. I’ve got my own, you know. You lock the door and when you finish fucking, you roll over and go to sleep.”

“You would,” Tegan snapped. She pushed to her feet and from the raised vantage point finally found her underwear: they were pinned under Turlough’s right elbow. She bent to retrieve them and his hand went out and pulled her back down beside him. “Let go of me,” she demanded.

He did, but she didn’t miss the look of momentary hurt that darted across his face. “It couldn’t have been that bad, Tegan.”

She picked her garment up and pushed back to her feet. “It was a mutual union,” she quickly said. “I scratched your itch, you scratched mine. That’s all.”

“That’s all,” he hollowly echoed, watching her.

“Yes.” She futilely tried to straighten her hair out again. The truth of the matter was she’d enjoyed it entirely too much, and Tegan was nothing if not passionate about everything she loved. She did not have room for Turlough. He did not fit into any of the niches of her life, outside the sexual, and that just wasn’t enough. She wasn’t going to let herself fall for him. She knew there was absolutely no hope for a future with an alien who passionately hated Earth, especially not one as rude and sulky and . . . and . . . young as Turlough.

She’d do best to just forget this whole thing had ever happened.

Traveling with the Doctor had its perks: she got to see strange places, eat weird food and experience wonderful things, but she hadn’t anticipated on seeing her friends die or leave to live out their lives on Lazar ships. She certainly hadn’t expected to sleep with an attempted murderer, let alone enjoy the experience.

She anxiously smoothed her skirt out, which was rather hard with the bunched up panties in her hand.

Turlough took the hint, finally sitting up to pull his trousers up and tuck all his bits properly back inside. “Well, then,” he said. He began buttoning his shirt.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” Tegan said. She picked up the duster coat but left the blanket. “Put the cup in the kitchen when you come in,” she added in her best airhostess voice. She did not miss the look of rebellion and anger that flashed over Turlough’s face before it finally settled on neutral indifference.

“Fine.”

Things had changed and she regretted that they had. She’d have to ignore Turlough for a few days—maybe longer—to give all of this time to settle. The TARDIS was a big ship, but even it wasn’t big enough to avoid issues like this. Honestly though, he really couldn’t have expected any other reaction from her, could he? She draped the coat over her arm and started back toward the TARDIS, picking her way over the grass. “G’night, Turlough.”

She walked several more paces, regretting how much things could change for the worse in just a few minutes, when his voice halted her.

“Hey,” he said, for once not using her name. He’d gotten to his feet and waited until she turned back to him before finishing his sentence. “Thanks. Not for that, but, you know. Before.” He seemed awkwardly sheepish and she had to force herself not to want to nurture that side of him. “Well, and for that, too, but mostly before.”

“It was nothing,” she said with a shrug. “That’s what friends do.”

“Yeah,” Turlough said, hands fidgeting again in front of him. “Friends,” he echoed, like the word was meaningless to him.

“G’night, Turlough,” she repeated, closing off the bit inside her that ached at the empty sound of his voice. She really had meant well, but she knew she’d break herself trying to fix Turlough, and he wouldn’t be able to put her back together again. She raised her chin and walked purposefully through the TARDIS doors.

“Goodnight, Tegan.”
--

The next day the TARDIS was pulled down the Time Corridor. Tegan met the Daleks, almost lost both the Doctor and Turlough to their evil schemes, and saw a lot of good people get killed.

When she found herself on the streets of London again, this time utterly alone, she made a choice: she allowed herself to keep the memory of Turlough close, as something remembered fondly instead of something to regret. She kept other memories too, of the Doctor, and of Nyssa and of the good she’d experienced during her travels.

She tried, mostly in vain, to forget the bad.