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Present Perfect

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Isobel Watkins was opening a whole new world for Zoe. As Isobel fussed around Zoe with her camera, Zoe had plenty of opportunity to stare (well, observe) which she eagerly used. Zoe was used to form-fitting clothing, but goodness, those legs. Isobel's long legs, bared by her incredibly short skirt, were among the most gorgeous things she had ever seen. She had a feeling she been missing out on something.

Besides Isobel's legs, she felt transfixed by Isobel's eyes on her, Isobel's camera trained on her. Zoe had never before realized how good, how intoxicating it could feel when someone saw her. Someone as enticing as Isobel, at least.

At the moment, she didn't care a bit about just what the Doctor and Jamie were babbling. Why were they always looking for trouble? There was something to focus on right here, and Zoe was going to focus all right.

"Try tossing your head back and looking at me over your shoulder," Isobel was calling out cheerfully. When Zoe obeyed, Isobel snapped more photos, grinning. "That's good. Love that smile. So pretty. And sexy." At those words, Isobel lowered her camera and looked at Zoe with a glint in her eyes, and Zoe wondered at this sensation of falling, falling into something warm and good.

She decided that if the Doctor and Jamie wanted to look for trouble, they could look for it on their own.

"Let's get you some more new gear," Isobel said. "I mean, that outfit is totally hot, but I'd love to see you in bright colours. My cousin left me with this dress, and I'm pretty sure she's your size."

"Sure," Zoe replied brightly. "I'll try anything."

The dress was bright red and short, very short. Looking at herself wearing it, Zoe felt a flush creep up her face. But Isobel was all smiles. "I knew it'd fit you! Oh my goodness, you're gorgeous!"

And Zoe felt bright and blazing, like a star, and she didn't even care what a silly analogy that is. She put her astrophysicist mind to the side, unheeding of its babbles about giant balls of hot gas and plasma, and focused on nothing but the present, where Isobel looked at her like she was as wondrous as whole cluster of stars.

She could get used to this.

Isobel pulled out a box full of bright-coloured things. "Want to try some accessories?" She was tossing scarves, hairbands and goodness knows what over her shoulder, where they landed scattered on the floor. Zoe would never have got away with such disorder back home.

Something brightly coloured, light green and fluffy caught her attention. "What's this?" She spread it out — it was long and made of feathers.

"That's a feather boa. Try it!" Isobel put it on Zoe's shoulders, her fingers brushing the back of Zoe's neck. Zoe shivered sweetly.

She was brought somewhat down from her high by Jamie saying the feathers made her look like a chicken. But it wasn't Jamie that Isobel was eager to photograph again and again. Her camera was only for Zoe. Next she backed to the wall and crouched down to a strange low angle that probably showed off Zoe's legs exceptionally. Zoe was happy to let her do just that.

She was also quite happy to let the Doctor and Jamie go out adventuring on their own. She was so thrilled to be alone with this girl who made her feel like — like this. This was something important that she had to discover herself.

Everything felt like flirtation. Every time Isobel touched her to steer her or fix her feather boa on her shoulders — far more often than she really needed to, her fingers teasingly gentle — it felt like an invitation for more. Sometimes their hands touched, their eyes met in a moment of sudden quietness amidst the cheer and the chatter, and Zoe felt something between them, like a magnetic pull, an invisible field of a force as powerful as the basic forces of the universe she knew so well. Which was a ridiculous comparison, her rational mind noted, but there.

She also noticed a distinct sensation of… butterflies. Not real butterflies, but what they describe as butterflies. Come to think of it, the fact that Zoe Heriot was thinking in metaphors involving colourful Earth insects was in itself unusual.

Zoe soon started to grasp what this must be about. She had heard about crushes, of course She was even fairly sure she'd had one or two. But none this intensely, this quickly. She wanted to devour Isobel with her eyes, and wanted so be devoured by Isobel's eyes all day long. And maybe by Isobel's mouth and hands, too, she thought, and flushed hot at the mental image. Isobel took another picture right then. Zoe wondered what Isobel saw on her face.

Still, she didn't say anything about her feelings to Isobel. She wasn't used to speaking of these things, and she felt unsure. She was in the past now, and people's attitudes to things were… different. Did Isobel even notice this? Was it all only in Zoe's head? What did Isobel think if she did notice?

Zoe couldn't believe this cheerful, bold girl with her quick eyes and tongue would be afraid of anyone's opinion. And it was silly to think of being in the past, anyhow. You can only ever be in the present. In fact, Zoe had rarely felt as present as she does now.

It seemed she was learning this time travel thing. She wondered what the Doctor would say. And thinking about him made her worried, all of a sudden. How long had he and Jamie been gone?

As she pondered this, trying to talk herself down from unnecessary worry, Isobel finally seemed to have enough photographing. She invited Zoe to have coffee and listen to records, an offer that Zoe gladly accepted.

When Zoe took her cup of coffee from Isobel, their fingers touched and their eyes met for a long time. Zoe could have sworn that Isobel's sparkling eyes and bold smile were an invitation. And if Zoe hadn't been growing worried about the Doctor and Jamie by now she just might have accepted the invitation.

But she was growing worried, and soon after, she and Isobel ended up leaving.

It would have been a very different day if she had instead stayed in to canoodle, she later reflected.


But as it was, it took until the whole adventure with the Cybermen and Mr Vaughn was over before anything else happened between her and Isobel. Anything other than the strengthening of their friendship, anyhow.

Cybermen vanquished, Zoe was high on adrenaline and triumph, relieved to be alive, on a living Earth that wasn't run over by metal monsters. Happy and relieved that Isobel was still there, too. She felt fire coursing through her veins and was light-headed and hot with it.

"Your cheeks are blazing", Isobel said and touched her face, her hand cool and smooth against Zoe's heated skin. "You look amazing."

"You are amazing," Zoe said, feeling bold and hungry. Zoe thought about how Cybermen were destroyed by emotions, and it was easy to understand their feeble circuits wouldn't be able to stand onslaught like this.

She remembered people on the Wheel calling her as cold as a computer. She knew she wasn't like that. But the Wheel was distant past, everything was distant past except this moment, right here, with this gorgeous girl, her bright eyes and sparkling words, and the heat that flowed through Zoe's veins.

So Zoe reached up on her tiptoes and took Isobel face into her hands. When light sparkled in Isobel eyes and her cheeks, too, flushed red, Zoe grinned and guided Isobel face down to hers.

Zoe hadn't actually kissed anyone before, and it started out a bit of a clumsy, messy affair where she didn't know what to do with her lips once they were touching Isobel's, or where to put her face so their noses weren't smushed together. Still, her blood rushed in excitement at the feel of Isobel's mouth on hers. Then Isobel took over, tilting her head so they fit better together, opening her mouth to claim Zoe's lower lip. The surge of pleasure made Zoe moan, and she fisted her hands into the back of Isobel's dress.

When they pulled apart, she was panting and dizzy. She stared at Isobel's lips, wet and red. Her eyes dark and bright.

"Wow," Zoe breathed out. "That was… um." Ordinarily she was proud of her power of precision, but now words were escaping her.

"Yeah," Isobel agreed, grinning. "Thanks. I've been wanting to do that, oh, maybe from about 5 minutes after you walked into this house. I just wasn't sure if you were going to… you know." She made an extremely vague gesture with the hand that wasn't pressed against Zoe's back.

"Oh, I wasn't sure if you would be okay with it," Zoe said, laughing. "People can be so…" She shrugged, not sure how to explain her worries about 20th century Earth and the prejudices she'd read of at school.

Isobel laughed, her eyes sparkling. "Why d'you think I got thrown out of my old flat?" Heee!

"Really?" Zoe was less shocked that Isobel should have got around to such things, than she was by the barbaric attitudes of the people of these time. Who threw someone out of a house for that?

"Oh my God, your eyes just got even bigger! I didn't know that was possible." Isobel looked thrilled.

Zoe giggled — actually giggled, which she never did, but apparently with Isobel she did things she doesn't do, which sounded great. "It's just that, well… In the future that sort of thing won't happen to girls like us anymore. I promise."

"That's good to hear. I figured people would grow into their senses. But, God, Zoe, you have amazing eyes. You are so pretty. So fab." And Isobel grabbed her face and kissed her again. It felt fantastic, and Zoe forgot all about past and future as she deepened her acquaintance with Isobel's mouth.

The kiss turned to many more, and soon Isobel was pushing Zoe against the wall and getting her hands all over Zoe's body, which felt amazing, and Zoe started vigorously kissing Isobel's neck to make up for it. It felt delectable, and if this got Isobel to make all those lovely sounds, Zoe decided she'd keep doing it for a while.

Zoe was so busy with her mouth she wasn't paying a lot of attention to her hands until they found skin, resulting a wonderful squeal from Isobel's mouth against hers. Zoe realised her hands had reached below Isobel's very short skirt and were stroking her thighs. That hadn't actually been the plan. Before Zoe realized it, she took a step back and withdrew her hands, curling them to fists to better keep them to herself.

"Oh, don't stop." Isobel's voice was breathy, plaintive. "I liked that." She took Zoe's hands into hers, and Zoe let her pry them open and place them back on her bare thighs.

Zoe pressed in again, stroking Isobel's thighs and kissing her neck, and Isobel's hands continued wandering all over her back. Then they slipped to the front, finding Zoe's breasts. Isobel stroked her through the fabric of her jumpsuit, first tentative, then bolder, and it was Zoe's time to moan.

Zoe's skin felt like it was burning, her nipples tight and sensitive under Isobel's touch, and there was a lovely, hot tightness between her legs. She slipped her hands under Isobel's skirt now, searching, and they caught on the edge of lace on her hips.

Isobel's hands started roaming even more, and her mouth claimed Zoe's earlobe, sucking, nibbling it. Then she pulled out enough to say, in consternation: "Where's the zip on this thing? How do you get it off?"

Zoe felt flushed with sudden heat, and felt so flustered that she pulled away. Her face seemed to be glowing like a furnace.

"Uh…" Isobel makes an incoherent sound, half panting, half reaching for words. "Do you not want me to take it off? I don't want to make you uncomfortable. I just felt like you might, um, want it. With how you're going for my…"

"Um." Zoe looked at Isobel, suddenly very aware of how fast this had progressed. "I… I think I do. Want you to take it off, that is." She was never flustered like this. But then, she wasn't usually in this situation. "But maybe we could… You have a bedroom, right?" She felt her face flush with heat as she said this. It makes it so real, what they're about to do. Which is exciting, but also… new.

But when Isobel grins and held her hand out to Zoe, Zoe takes it.

"All right, you darned pretty thing," Isobel said. "Come with me into my bedroom?"

"Yes, gladly," Zoe said, smiling. Sparks were coursing through her body all the way to the core of her desire, which burned her bright as fire.


That night, she learned to know Isobel's body and the sounds she made in pleasure. She got to know the joy of the other girl's touch on her body and the heat they made together.

When they lay together afterwards in a tangle of limbs and sheets, Zoe's head against Isobel's neck and Isobel's hand stroking her hair, Zoe felt happy and light. So firmly present in her body. She'd only felt like this during and after exciting adventures with the Doctor and Jamie. But now there's been no danger, no evil, only pleasure and joy. She felt every breath deep in her belly, and the buzz of pleasure in her, the satedness between her legs and the sensitivity of her much-kissed, much-caressed skin — they were all her. She marvelled quietly at this.

"That was lovely, Zoe," Isobel said.

"It was," she agreed.

"Can I keep you? At least as long as you're in town? I want more of this."

"Me too," Zoe said. "You can definitely keep me as long as I'm here." She hoped Isobel wasn't going to ask how long that is, not right now. She knew the Doctor wanted at least a few days to fix the TARDIS and catch up with the Brigadier and talk to Professor Watkins, but beyond that, nothing had been spoken. She didn't want to think about anything beyond this moment. So she kissed Isobel's neck, drawing a pleased sigh out of her.

"I can't wait for the future if the girls are like this," Isobel said, and Zoe could hear the smile in her voice.

It's stirred a complex knot of feelings — jealousy towards those nebulous other girls, wanting to stay to be Isobel's future, but also knowing she couldn't pass on the chance to travel further with the Doctor, not this soon. There was so much for her to see. But thanks to Isobel, she had new ideas of what she wanted to see.

Maybe she and the Doctor could figure out together how to steer the TARDIS so she could return here some day. She ought to be able to manage it; after all, the Doctor might be clever, but he wasn't as clever as she is.

"Well," Zoe said, "you'll definitely get a lot more girls in the future who'll be up for things like this. But I do believe I'm one of a kind."

"Oh, you are," Isobel said warmly, and grabbed Zoe's face and kissed her, long and lazy and sweet. "You definitely are."

Zoe kissed her back. "So are you."

They lay there kissing and cuddling for some time longer, until they fell asleep together in Isobel's bed. There were no more words about the future. The present was enough.