“What?” the Brigadier says.
“Or you could just watch,” the Doctor suggests, turning to Liz and kissing her deeply.
The Doctor knows he will watch. Liz knows the Brigadier is watching, even though his innate decency demands that he turn away. It makes the back of her neck prickle and heats her body.
They break the kiss. The Brigadier realises his mouth is slightly open and closes it.
Liz snuggles into the Doctor’s chest, the scratch of the hay against her thigh a contrast as he lets his fingertips wander up from her knee.
She looks up at the Brigadier from under her lashes and is unable to keep a completely straight face as she observes, “I thought you were a man of action, Brigadier.”
She knows then what true speechlessness looks like. The Doctor knows what speechlessness, or inability to communicate in the normal mode, usually due to some sort of shock, looks like across many species but cannot deny the fascinating nature of this particular example. The Brigadier knows that his mouth has fallen open again and manages to shut it again, not without effort.
The Doctor removes his hand from where it had been drawing close to Liz’s hem. Normally, she would have protested, but as he outstretches it to the Brigadier, she just watches.
The Brigadier looks at the Doctor’s hand like it’s alien, which of course it is, Liz realises, and thinks maybe a better comparison would be of a man contemplating selling his soul to the devil in exchange for fortune, etc. Not that the Brigadier would ever do such a thing, of course, but the mixture of trepidation and temptation on his face puts that comparison in her mind.
“Alistair,” the Doctor says softly, all he says.
Liz’s breath hitches and anticipation curls in her belly as the Brigadier slowly wraps his fingers around the Doctor’s. They seem to stay like that for a frozen eternity, not willing to break the spell, although it’s only a few seconds.
Then the Doctor flicks his wrist and the Brigadier is suddenly sprawling on his back.
Beneath the bluster at getting caught off-balance, literally and metaphorically, is a rather endearing bewilderment and Liz can’t help but burst out laughing.
“I’m glad you think this amusing, Miss Shaw.” He props himself up on one elbow and continues, or at least tries to, “Now, Doctor-”
Liz slips off the bale and kneels next to him, interrupting with “I am also a doctor.”
Pushing him back down to lying flat, she adds “And you’re quite right. You may be seriously injured, so lie still and let the doctors examine you.”
For an instant, Liz thinks she’s gone wrong, pushed too far, too fast, but then Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, commander of UNIT, takes a breath and simply replies ‘Yes, Doctor.”
Liz begins work on undoing his boots. The Doctor begins his examination at the opposite end, removing the UNIT cap and tracing the contours of Alistair’s skull.
“She’s brilliant, isn’t she?” the Doctor whispers, cool breath across hot skin. “You both are.” He kisses him, feather light, as his fingers stroke across his brow and down the slope of his nose.
“Magnificent,” the Doctor murmurs against his lips; the Brigadier can feel him smile as he adds, “You and that moustache both.”
The one disadvantage inherent in rolling in the hay, the Brigadier muses later, lying in a tangled and undignified heap of human male, human female and alien male, is that hay ends up in such awkward places.
Not that this is a bad thing, Liz thinks later. The three of them have excellent strategies for removal of said hay from said awkward places.
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