A/N: Since this story involves the Brigadier, I feel I should pay tribute to the late Nicholas Courtney, gentleman and actor extraordinaire.
There was something to be said for the life of a scientist, reflected Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart. It wasn't so much a job as it was a way of life. It was, he supposed, a lot like the military in some respects: he brought his job home, with phonecalls late at night and last-minute assignments to odd places, and Liz spent most of her time in front of bubbling chemicals or academic texts.
Neither of them seemed to have quite figured out a balance.
The beauty of it was that they never fought over it. He'd come back late to find Liz hunched over some experiment, barely noticing his return, late or early. Not only that but food was rather a novelty with her around as well. For someone who had a job involving mixing the correct quantities of materials together according to the instructions, she was quite frankly the worst cook he'd ever met, and once absorbed in an experiment she'd lose track of time entirely, eating only what he gave her.
She came to bed late and exhausted from teaching and working, and as the worries and concerns of the day faded away she would pull him close to her and hold him tight, as if she was afraid he'd disappear. It was in those precious moments deep in to the night that she came alive.
"I'm sorry I've been so distant lately, Alistair."
It was inevitably late and he was already in bed when she appeared at the door. Crossing to the bed, she sat down next to where he lay, her face troubled. "It's just-"
"I know," he replied gently. "It's important to you."
She shook her head. "No...it's not quite like that."
Flopping gracefully on to her stomach next to him, she sighed. "I mean...it's important, but it's too much. I don't enjoy it."
"I used to. Alistair, it was my life, before-"
She was briefly silent.
Alistair studied her face carefully, his eyes never quite meeting hers, before speaking. "Liz, we both know this isn't quite-"
"Working? Yes, I know." Again, she was silent for a moment, sitting up and gazing down at him with faraway eyes. "I've given up teaching."
"You did what?"
"I resigned my teaching post. Research is what I love and I'll have more time for it this way."
He stared at her and noted the determined set of her jaw against the vulnerability in her eyes. "I would never have asked you to do that," he told her softly, running a hand up her smooth thigh to the hem of her dress.
"Don't be silly, Alistair. I didn't just do this for you, I've been considering it for a while – now simply seemed the right time." She covered his hand with her own, pulling it under her dress and up to her hip. "And don't think I haven't heard you on the phone, refusing extra assignments abroad."
"I see I've been found out," he said, amused. His fingers traced circles on the soft skin at her waist and he could feel her shiver beneath his touch.
"We are going to be okay," she breathed. "Aren't we?"
Sitting up, he pressed a whisper of a kiss to her parted lips. "Of course we are."
Liz's response surprised him. She fairly launched herself at him, kissing him hard and desperately, her hands threading through his hair to pull him in closer. A moan escaped her throat as he pushed her down on to her back, one hand tugging at her underwear.
He paused and pulled back momentarily, ignoring her surprise, to look in to her eyes. "Do you want me to leave the army?" he asked simply.
He saw the tears well up even if they didn't fall. "No," she said. "Never. Not for me."
"That was my choice." A mischievous smile graced her lips. "Now, Brigadier, you have your hand up my dress. Are you going to stop there?"