Author: cosmic angst
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 2053
Author's Summary: Some cracks run too deep to heal on their own. That's where the Doctor comes in. Doctor/Romana. Set after The Big Bang.
Recced because: Because this is desperately, achingly beautiful. Because I am an angst junkie, and I want to direct this story directly into my veins. Because the Doctor gets to see Romana again, and Romana gets to see the Doctor again before she dies, and we get to see them traveling together again one last time. Because Eleven/Romana is one of those pairings I never would have thought of, but by God, does it work. Because fiction about difficult choices is my crack cocaine. Because I love Romana so, so much, and even though the Doctor has to erase the peaceful Gallifrey she helped save and nurture, she does get some kind of closure. And so does the Doctor. And so do we.
"We lost, didn't we? We lost the war." She looks away, avoiding his eyes. When she speaks, her voice is shaky. "Did you see the statue in the front hall? They installed it last week. I can't stand it. Far too garish. Horrible likeness. I asked them to take it down, but they insisted."
He reaches forward and cups her face in his hands, forcing her to look at him. "Romana. Hello." Her eyes are brimming with tears, and he realizes that his are too. He smiles, and she manages a weak smile back at him. "Oh, look at you. I want there to be another way. But I can't think of one, and I'm a genius. All the other cracks have sealed themselves off. But the one at Arcadia is too massive. I need to do it manually with my TARDIS. I need to make sure you lose the war, in order to restore the balance of the universe."
"I understand," Romana says, though the truth is that her mind is reeling. She shakes off his embrace and leans back. "I've not told anyone this yet," she says, "but I was planning on resigning. It's unusual this early, I know. I've only served nine terms. But wars are unusual too, and I'm so tired. And this place has changed me, Doctor, and not for the better. I wanted to leave."
"I was hoping to travel with you again," she continues. "Not forever. Only until I found somewhere else where I was needed. Oh, Doctor, I have missed our time together."
The Doctor laughs, and for a moment he looks very old. "So have I, Romana. So have I."
"You'll have to forgive my sentimentality but - one last trip? In the TARDIS?"
"I thought you'd never ask. Come along, Romana."