Word Count: 1,453
Author's Summary: “You sent for me, Madam President?” the Doctor says gravely, and she steels herself to break his hearts. Eight/Romana; sequel to had we but world enough, and time.
Characters/Pairings: The Romana II/The Doctor (8th)
Warnings: None. Not unless lovely Time War-related angst counts, anyway.
Recced because: Those of you who have had online dealings with me either here on LJ, over at the Teaspoon or elsewhere may well be aware of this by now, but it probably bears repeating: that good old Doctor/Romana stuff, I can't get enough of it myself. I'm a sucker for it, no doubt about it. I think it's something about it, at least when it's as well written as it is here, that speaks to themes going beyond the joys of simple shippiness (not that there's anything wrong with simple shippiness, my friends). When you contrast the Doctor and Romana of Seasons 16-17 with the status quo in the new series (or even, I might argue, with post-Leisure Hive S18), and then filter that through the lens of fanfic, you're immediately getting into stuff about love and loss and growing up and getting old and the things we leave behind. Or so I like to think anyway. And the new series notion of the Time War and the Doctor now being (practically) the last of the Time Lords, combined with the spinoff novels and audios and their general consensus about What Romana Did Next only cast it all in even more bittersweet terms.
And then there's the Time War - another strange attractor for me when it comes to bridging the gap between the old series and the new. Because you know, quite apart from it being an honest-to-gods Time War, to turn somebody like the TVM Eight into the Nine of Rose, it was probably even worse than you think you can imagine.
So having established that I'm pretty easy for any fic combining Doctor/Romana and the aforementioned War, this is nevertheless a story that I think you all should read, even if you don't share my particular predilections, because it's lovely, and sad, and hints at some of the dark deeds behind RTD's throwaway references to the Doctor's part in the conflict. Seeing things from Romana's point of view, it reflects on her relationship with the Doctor and her own conflicted attempts to balance that and her sense of her own morality with the demands of leading the Time Lords in their hour of greatest peril. It's also very well written, structured as a series of moments in time that could just as easily be read backwards as forward. And it ends on a note that if you're as into the whole Doctor/Romana thing as I am will make you go "awww", because at the end of the day, it always comes back to Paris...
So read it!
She dies in battle on some frozen backworld. They hadn’t wanted her to go, of course, the concepts of active field work and physical combat utterly foreign to the rows of dusty bureaucrats who are her advisers, and lying alone here on the hard ground with her cheek against the ice she thinks she rather sees the wisdom in that. She stares at the delicate pattern of her blood sprayed across the banked snow and thinks sorrowfully but I liked this body as her vision goes dim and then dark. There is no time to control this regeneration, like before, and before she slides utterly into blackness she sends out a frantic wish to be made hard, hard and capable and strong.