Story: Moments, Arbitrarily Gifted
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 1,689
Author's Summary: "Time is a cruel thief to rob us of our former selves." Sometimes time gives something back. (Amelia Rumford/Vivien Fay from The Stones of Blood.)
Characters/Pairings: Amelia Rumford/Vivien Fay
Recced because: One of the real pleasures to be had from Doctor Who over its many years, in my opinion, is its great supporting characters. Some of them are heroes, some of them are villains, some act as pseudo-companions for one story only and some are only bit-part players, but so many of them, thanks to that hard-to-quantify combination of writing and actor that Who manages to pull off uncannily often, are unforgettable creations, their legends carrying on in fandom to the extent that it's easy to forget that their actual screentime was so limited. And so it is with The Stones of Blood, a very strong story, imo, even if late-period Tom Baker doesn't appeal to all fans, and one that I like a great deal. One of the most interesting things about it is the portrayal of the two guest characters around which this story revolves, because while the kinds of things that people felt comfortable referencing in family television programmes have obviously changed over the intervening 30+ years, on the face of it the relationship between the two doesn't really seem ambiguous at all.
This story is a very fine exploration of the two characters, beautifully written and building on what the TV story showed us of Professor Rumford and Vivien and their life together. It's also a story about fractured time and people living their lives out of synch with each other in a way that seems to happen more often in the Whoniverse than you might think, as well as managing to make a couple of good points about feminist historical theory and matriarchy versus patriarchy. The centrepiece of it, though, is the subtle and well-rounded treatment of the two characters - it underlines the somewhat ambivalent ending of the TV story and will possibly make you think that while Four was probably doing what needed to be done, it was still a bit harsh of him. So go and read this and leave a review, because this story deserves more attention, I think.
She is sorry. Amelia rather thinks that the author of a definitive work shouldn’t be so bewildered by such a simple phrase. Ever since the strange events — the original strange events, that is, the ones with the Doctor and Romana — and her discovery of just who and what Vivien was, she has been confused. If Vivien was Cessair, and Cessair was a murderous criminal alien who didn’t care about anyone, how could Vivien have cared about her? Was she even capable of such emotions? It had seemed so, and now it did again.
She is sorry too. But why? Should she still care about Vivien herself?
She suspects things have become very complicated.