Like Sunshine Through Rain by lurking_latinist
It's a terrible cliché, thinks the Doctor, but they'll laugh about it later.
They can hear the distinctive hum of the SpaceMall security droid, not going away but getting closer, and then the click and buzz as it opens the door of the storage closet where they're hiding.
No more time to think, no time to explain. He slips a hand behind Charley's head, brings their faces together, mouth to mouth. It feels awkward, but he doesn't care; he's trying to imagine it from outside, like a film director, trying to create a tableau of hands cupping cheeks, blonde hair falling wildly, and—most importantly—nothing whatsoever visible that could trigger a facial detection algorithm.
She makes a tiny squeak against his lips, but he holds onto her, willing her to understand.
"Behavioral aberration," announces the security droid to no one in particular.
Charley rises on her tiptoes and throws her hands behind his head, pressing herself against him, parting her lips. He can't suppress a thrill of shock. But she's quick; he ought to have realized she'd pick up on his plan and join in.
He lets himself focus, just a little, on her—her softness, her warmth, the slight scent of her skin. Method acting.
"Analysis: aberration falls within expected organic parameters," concludes the droid. (Was his imagination running away with him, or did it sound slightly judgmental?) It shuts the door behind itself, leaving them alone.
He releases her and tries to pull back, but she's still kissing him.
She only holds on for a moment, but it's the longest moment he can imagine. And he's been in time loops.
He puts his arms around her, holding her close by her shoulders and waist. When she lets him have his mouth back with a confused gasp, he whispers, "I hope I didn't startle you." She drops her head to his chest, leaning there.
There's a hitch in her deep breathing.
"Charley," he says tentatively, "did—did I hurt you?"
She shakes her head, still buried in his chest. He holds her a little closer and she presses into the embrace.
He tries to look into her face. He's worried now. He may not be one of history's great lovers, but he doesn't usually have this effect.
Besides, it had only been a ruse.
"Charley?" he says again.
She doesn't move, and tears are still running steadily down her cheeks, but she takes a deep breath. "I've been so lonely," she says. Another deep breath. "That's all."
"You mean—you liked it?" He's not sure if that was the right thing to say. But he knows if he asks lonely since when, or who are you missing, she'll just claim not to remember.
"Yes," she says, muffled, "I suppose I did."
Softly, tentatively, still afraid he's hopelessly misreading, he lifts up her face and looks into her eyes.
"Would you like me to—"
He doesn't finish, but she understands. A smile flickers across her face like sunshine through rain. "Not on the mouth," she says slowly. "That—that was perhaps too much at once."
So he kisses her forehead, her soft cheeks, her stubborn little chin. She relaxes in his embrace like it's her only home.
She places a delicate, feather-light kiss on his chin—she can't reach any higher, he realizes, and bends down. She dots her kisses on his eyebrows and the edge of his hair.
She's funny sometimes, he reflects. But of all her eccentricities this one is far from alarming. If he can give her warmth and comfort and closeness, however she wants it, he will.
However. "Didn't we have a conspiracy to expose?" he asks.
"Right," she says. "I've got the film-thingummy in my pocket."
"And I've got the recording." He checks his own pocket. Still there.
Standing on her tip-toes, she kisses the tip of his nose. "For luck," she says, and opens the closet door. "Let's go!"
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