"I really am rather fond of you," said the Doctor, in an unexpected fit of post-coital affection.
"Why, Doctor," Romana opened her eyes, "that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."
"Nonsense. Just last week I told that Draconian general you were smarter than any military computer invented!"
"Yes," said Romana. She stretched languorously, not-by-coincidence giving the Doctor a rather good view of her naked upper body. "And that was a very nice thing to say. Rather exaggerated, though."
"Perhaps a tad," the Doctor conceded.
"But it's quite pleasant to be the object of fondness, too. One doesn't get that sort of thing at home."
"Gallifrey's a rubbishy sort of planet, really."
Romana felt a vague urge to defend her home, but couldn't work up the energy. So she lay beside the Doctor, enjoying the hormones and dopamines and other biological side effects of intercourse, all of which were more pleasant than theoretical research had led her to believe.
After a while she said, "I — I like you, too, Doctor."
This tremulous confession was received with a gentle snore. Which was both typical and infuriating — but she had rather worn him out, and he wasn't a young Time Lord.
Romana pictured herself returning to Gallifrey, the Doctor in tow. Asking her House to negotiate a formal matrimonial alliance with the Doctor — hilarious. Her mother, who was also the House matriarch, would raise her elegant eyebrows and sneer.
"You were not Loomed to engage in primitive biological relationships with renegades, Romanadvoratrelundar."
"But, Matriarch, he was the Lord High President of Gallifrey."
"Typical political riff raff."
And her father would say, without looking up from his book, "Why don't you ask the genetic artisans to run up a few offspring? It's much neater, and frankly there's less awkwardness in the long run."
And her Cousins would be scandalised, and her tutor furious, and for what? A stifling life on Gallifrey, exactly like the life her parents led — and their parents — and theirs — going back to the Dark Times and beyond.
"And anyway," said the Doctor in a sleepy voice, "I'm hopeless at changing nappies."
"I can't abide children," said Romana. "Even when I was one. All of my friends were at least a century older." She punched him in the arm. "And I'll thank you not to eavesdrop when I'm daydreaming. It's embarrassing."
"Well, it was such a charming vision of domestic tedium."
"Hormonally inspired, I expect."
"Probably." The Doctor propped himself up on his elbow and ran a finger down Romana's face, tracing the line of her profile from forehead to chin. She watched his features for a sign of condescension or disappointment — "What, never?" he'd exclaimed as he unbuttoned her dress, "but the entire purpose of university is to provide an environment an environment for the indulgence of budding libidos–"
Which explained a lot about his education, now that she thought about it. But if her inexperience made the Doctor uncomfortable, it wasn't obvious, either in his expression or the thoughts that brushed her mind with each touch.
"Don't be absurd," the Doctor snapped, softening his irritation with a kiss, "and don't go thinking I'm eager to have a malleable virgin in my bed, either; if I wanted a lover I could program, I'd sleep with K9."
They both took a moment to appreciate the full horror of their shared mental image.
"Anyway," he finished, "I like you as you are, not as — as–"
"A fetish object?"
"Inexperienced but not remotely naive, that's my Romana."
She gave him a wry smile and propped herself up on her elbow to kiss him properly. The Doctor slid one hand around her waist, supporting her, while the other slipped upward to cup her breast.
"Shall we go again?" Romana asked.
"And risk the disapproval of your parents and the horror of your cousins?"
Romana tossed her hair over her shoulder.
"Gallifrey can go hang," she said. "They can all say what they want, I don't mind." She ran a hand through his curls and smiled. "I am terribly fond of you, too, Doctor."
"Why, Romana," he gave her a wide-eyed look, "that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."
"Well, don't let it go to your head."
"I am the very soul of modesty," the Doctor said — a barefaced lie, given his present state of undress, but Romana was prepared to be forgiving.
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