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Last Time, This Time (Ouroboros)

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This is their second war on Gallifrey.

This is not like the first time. This is not their Gallifrey, and Daleks swarm this still-strange world.

Romana is at war with her nightmares, and wakes sobbing into Narvin’s chest: they must be quiet. Quiet and close, hiding in the dark from the machines that have taken all she hoped to do, all she built here, all she once was. In her dream, they take all that is left and she screams in grief over the bodies of Leela and Narvin, both mortal, single-lifed, without a last resort. It’s all too possible. Leela is away tonight, fighting, coordinating one of the guerrilla attacks which comprise their side of the war, but the danger is ever present: their safehouses have little familiarity with the concept of safety.

She shakes, even as Narvin’s heartsbeat sounds steady and reassuring in her ears. He strokes her hair soothingly, tucks it behind her ear, trails his fingers down her jawline.

She looks up. He isn't smiling, but the emotion in his eyes is a mirror of her own.

She kisses him then, hard, tugging handfuls of his robe upwards. He rolls onto his back, she straddling his hips, and obligingly raises his arms, so she can pull the undergarment over his head before he returns the favour.

This is not like the first time. Her hands move impatiently, selfishly over his body; his are on her neck, her breasts, her hip, her cunt.

The first time – the not-too-distant first time – had been sweet and savoured, surprising only in its simplicity. They had grown comfortable together, and it was easy to kiss Narvin goodnight, easy to stay. She remembers how her skin sang, how he moved – slow, delicious –

She whimpers as Narvin drags his thumb up to her clitoris and rubs tight, quick circles. They have not the time nor the space or security for the luxury of patience, not anymore.

She rests her weight on her hands, splayed on his chest, as he holds her hips and pushes inside. She isn’t quite ready yet; it stings, sharp and real and welcome. She gasps, breathes, and focuses. His heartsbeats seems to echo her own, a loop, ouroboros. But hardly – their survival seems unique among all the alternate universes they’ve visited. They die. That is what has happened before.

Her hands on his shoulders, she moves her hips, first to the rhythm of her thoughts (not again, she promises, not again, not again,  not – ah!), faster as she is caught up in the sensation.

He shivered, her name at her throat, as she arched against him –

Her eyes are squeezed shut, trying to block out their surroundings, their situation; she holds in her memory superimposed images, Narvin’s face as he moves in her.

She slides her hands around his neck, his groan a vibration against her skin –

– his head thrown back, the tendons taut, she kissed the hollow of his throat –

– applies pressure, feels his pulse beat under her fingers. So fragile, so strong: he is alive, he is alive and here and hers, and the knowledge flutters wildly in her belly as her hands slide, scratch over his chest and collarbone, his chin and cheekbones, as his hands skim over her skin, breast to waist to hip, pressing his palm flat across her navel to feel her tremble.

She wants to burn in the heat of his body. She wants the taste of his skin to clear the ashes from her mouth; she wants to drown in this muffled silence between them, broken by quiet gasps and groans; she wants to, to... a noise tears itself from the back of her throat as Narvin’s fingers return to her clit and she clenches around him, drawing a similar response, oh, she wants, she wants, she wants.

She rocks forward as it hits her, choking out her cries against his shoulder, her hands fisted in discarded robe either side of his head.

He takes up their movement as soon as she stills and it’s the most glorious agony; she can’t think, she’s so sensitive now she can hardly catch her breath. Her skin is still tingling when he comes, pressing his face in her hair to stifle a groan and clutching her hips so tight she thinks she can feel every fingerprint.

They lie there, breathing together, for as long as she dares, until their skin begins to cool. She shivers, and he hands her her robe. They dress in silence.

The warmth of the shared bed was a comfort she could not allow herself, not yet, but there would be another time.

“Narvin?” Romana says, when they are curled together again, her back against his chest.


She pulls his arm around her and drops a kiss on the back of his hand. For once, she is awake, the nightmares at bay.  Quiet and close, they wait for Leela’s return.