Title: The V Word
Author: Walking Through The Rain
Rating: K+
Summary: It's in no way a date. They're just two friends who happen to be ever-so-slightly in love with each other, and who happen to be going out on 14th February. It's not a date.
Spoilers: Slight for most of series 4
Pairings/Characters: Rani/Clyde, Gita Chandra, rest of cast mentioned

Author's Note: I wasn't originally going to write a Valentines' Day fic, but this idea came to me and wouldn't leave me alone! And I'm a little late with this, I know! WARNING-PURE FLUFF AHEAD! :)

One Week Before

The word of the day was Valentine.

Honestly, Rani was getting fed up of it. It seemed like everywhere the school asked she went someone else asked her, "Who's your Valentine?" All the girls she knew were comparing boys, and hoping they'd be asked. Rani didn't understand didn't particularly want to be asked, all the guys she knew were complete idiots with a combined IQ lower than that of a potato. But there was one she'd like an invitation off...

But that was ridiculous. He wasn't like that with her. Best mates. No more.

It looked like Rani would be watching movies under her duvet on Valentines' Day. And actually, it didn't seem like such a dreadful prospect. She had tried to explain this to a girl who had asked her what she was doing for the big day. The girl had looked at her as though she was crazy. Maybe she was.

Rani found Clyde at lunch, and it wasn't long before the subject was turned around to the dreaded V-word. As it turned out, Clyde was fed up of the Valentines' Day talk too.

"I don't why people make such a big deal out of it," he said, as a gang of girls ran past squealing. Apparently one of them had been asked out by some meathead. Rani watched them, hoping the girl had a good time at McDonalds. Boys her age weren't famed for romantic gestures.

Rani nodded in agreement, "I know. Everyone's been asking me all day who I'm going out with." She rolled her eyes, taking a bite out of her sandwich.

Clyde looked at her with sudden panic, which she didn't notice. He furrowed his eyebrows; doing everything he could to look casual. "Are you... you know?" he asked, trying not too look too hopeful. She stared at him in confusion. "Going out with someone?" he clarified.

"God, no!" she laughed, and Clyde let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "Even if any of these idiots asked, I'd say no." She gestured around the canteen with a hand.

Clyde was gratified that she didn't seem to include him in her infliction of the idiots she'd say no to. He smiled with her, and the conversation moved onto other topics. They split up after lunch and moved onto their separate classes. It was probably a good thing, as it took Clydethe entire afternoon to work himself up to ask her. He had begun to see his nerves around her as typical. They were there every time he tried to take their relationship a step forward. When he'd grabbed her hand in the hospital looking for Androvax, dancing with her at Luke's leaving party. He was pathetic around her, but somehow he didn't mind one bit.

Nerves or no nerves, he had get his act together on the way home. Luckily for Clyde, Rani had gotten the conversation around to Valentines' Day.

"...So it looks like I'm spending Valentines' Day alone then. But maybe that's a good thing, it's not like I want to go out with any of the losers in that school, half of them can't even spell 'romantic', never mind be it!"

Now or never, Clydey; he thought. "We should go out," he blurted out suddenly, immediately cursing his own ineloquence. She stopped in her tracks and looked at him with wide eyes, shocked. Was he... asking her out? Never in a million years had she thought...

"I mean... as friends." He covered his tracks. If he didn't know better, he would have sworn he saw a little disappointment in her eyes. "The two losers who can't get a date," he joked weakly. She was still staring at him. "Forget I said anything, it was a stupid idea anyway." He hurried ahead of her, feeling so humiliated he just wanted to be swallowed up by the earth. Where was an alien abduction when you needed one?

Rani quickly gathered her scattered thoughts and ran to catch up with him, linking his arm. "Go on then," she told him, smiling.

Now it was his turn to stare, "Yes?" he asked, completely staggered.

She shrugged, "Why not? I could do with a night out anyway."

Clyde was speechless for a second, he opened his mouth a few times but no words came out. He finally settled on a completely inadequate adjective to describe his feelings at her agreement, "Cool."

"Cool," she repeated.

They spent the rest of the walk home in silence, Rani's arm linked through his. Only their wide smiles betrayed their feelings on their 'non-date'.

-X-

14th February

Rani pulled her huge warm parka jacket on, and looked at her reflection in her mirror. She carefully applied her mascara and a little lip gloss, and with a spritz of perfume she was ready to go. Clyde still hadn't told her where they were going, keeping it a surprise all week. He hadn't even given her the slightest clue, only told her to 'dress warmly.' Rani had racked her brains for where he could be taking her, but so far, her mind had drawn a blank. She didn't usually like surprises, but something told her this would be a good one.

Rani had been practically bouncing off the walls in the days leading up Valentines' Day; she was casual about it around Clyde, not wanting to come off as too eager, but she had confided to Sarah Jane how much she was looking forward to it. Sarah Jane had had a twinkle in her eye when she found out about their 'non-date', like she had been waiting a long time to hear this news. Rani hadn't understood it.

She bounded down the stairs, slipping her feet into her purple Vans. Now that the day was finally here, Rani was more than a little nervous about the entire thing. She told herself it would be fine, that she shouldn't even be worried because it wasn't a date anyway.

She looked in the mirror again, fiddling with a strand of hair that wouldn't stay in place. "Going somewhere?" Her mum said from behind her. Rani jumped out of her skin, clutching her chest.

"You scared me!" Rani looked down. She hadn't told her Mum or Dad yet because she knew how -her Dad in particular- would react. But she decided honesty was the best policy. "Err, yeah. I'm going out with Clyde."

"I knew it!" Her Mum cried, clapping her hands

Rani rolled her eyes, "Before you get too excited, it's not a date." Her Mum raised her eyebrows, and Rani had to smile, "It's not. We're just two friends who happen to be going out on 14th February. It's not a date." Even to her, her denial sounded false. This was messed up really, seeing as she was telling the truth.

-X-

"Still not telling?" Rani asked hopefully, as they rounded the corner. She still didn't have a clue where they were going, even as they walked down the streets to get there.

He grinned smugly, "Nope! You'll have to wait and see!" She sighed emphatically and pouted. He laughed, "We're nearly there."

Rani suddenly got a strange sense of deja vu. She remembered running down this road, only it was daylight and they were being followed by huge red and yellow robots. Was he taking her to the Circle nature reserve? Rani pondered this as they walked. Rani had quite enjoyed their visit with school, but Clyde had said it was the most boring day of his life.

Her suspicions were confirmed as she saw the sign. But there was a billboard next to it, with some event written on it. Rani squinted, trying to read what it said. It gradually came into view:

VALENTINES' DAY OUTDOOR CINEMA

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S- Starring Audrey Hepburn

STARTS AT 7PM- DRESS WARMLY!

Rani's jaw dropped.

Clyde had the pleasure of watching her lovely face light up as she realized what they were doing here. Just that expression made the entire evening worth it. Even if he'd have to sit through a romantic comedy -he was more of a Star Wars kind of guy- just to catch a glimpse of it. He smiled, happy with his choice of destination.

"Clyde!" she laughed unbelievingly. "How...?"

He shrugged, looking up at the sign, "My mum suggested it, and then I remembered seeing you reading the book a few weeks ago. So... Here we are."

Rani shook her head, still shocked. "You're amazing. I've wanted to see this movie for ages!"

"I do my best. Come on, let's go find the best seats."

He grabbed her hand and pulled her to the gates. He paid for them both to get in before Rani could complain that she should pay half. There was a lady handing out blankets to sit on, Rani thanked her and got one big blanket while Clyde went ahead and found seats.

Rani's eyes widened at the transformed grassy area where they'd seen Gavin off a few months ago. A huge screen stood at one end, and lit Japanese lanterns hung everywhere. Fairy lights were wrapped around some of the trees and large orange and pink stage lights were put underneath others, causing a brilliant glow and shadows from the branches and leaves. Rani giggled happily, feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. She saw Clyde grab two seats near the front and went to join him.

He was sitting down, shivering a little already. She moved her chair next to his and draped one half of the big blanket around his shoulder and wrapped the other half around hers. He smiled, pulling the blanket tighter around both of them.

More people arrived and by the time the film was about to start, the grass was full. Clyde reached into a rucksack Rani hadn't realized he was carrying, pulling out a flask of tea and two cups and a large Galaxy chocolate bar.

Rani let out a euphoric laugh, a sense of warmth spreading over her despite the cold air. She didn't think he could get anymore perfect if he tried.

-X-

His feet were freezing. Despite the shared chocolate bar with Rani, he was still hungry. He was tired as he had stayed up late last night worrying about today.

Despite this, Clyde had never been more comfortable. The movie actually wasn't so bad- it was quite funny in some parts. Apart from the toes that felt like they would fall off at any given moment, the rest of him was quite warm. Best of all, he had the girl of his dreams on his arm. Her head had somehow ended up on his shoulder during the course of the movie and his arm was wrapped around her under the blanket that covered both of them.

Clyde had to wonder whether the boundary between non-date and date had been blurred; it certainly felt like it.

He was almost reluctant to get up once the movie ended, he was far too comfortable. Rani seemed to feel the same way. She sighed contentedly, shifting slightly in his arms before getting up. He got up too, his legs numb for sitting so long in one position. She smiled widely at him and took his gloved hand in hers, leading him out.

-X-

Rani felt disappointed as they reached the top of Bannerman Road; today had been so perfect she didn't want to see it end. Arms linked and huddling closely to keep warm, they kept a comfortable silence as he walked her home.

"Thank you," she told him, her voice full of fervent gratitude.

"You don't need to thank me, Rani."

She smiled, "I think I probably should. The effort you went to..." She trailed off, amazed still. Rani half-expected a denial of it being any effort, or a witty comeback, but he didn't say anything like that at all.

"You're worth it," he told her simply, his brown eyes soft even in the darkness.

In that moment, Rani felt it. Without warning, she pulled him close and pressed her lips to his.

"So are you," she whispered against his lips.

End Note: I've never written fluff like this before... I quite enjoyed it :) Oh, and Rani's outfit is on my profile. Review?