Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 971
Author's Summary: The Time Lords want Romana back. Romana wants to keep on running. The Doctor? Well, he knows what he has to do.
Characters/Pairings: Romana II, The Doctor (4th)
Warnings: None, well not unless you're philosophically opposed to "fix it" fic, I guess.
Recced because: Well, I guess it's no secret by now to those of you with even a passing familiarity with my fannish activities that I'm a big, fat sucker for the whole notion of Four/Romana (and Doctor(s)/Romana(s) in general). This fic isn't quite flat-out Four/Romana II, but it's arguable that it's strongly hinting at that. But let's face it, one of the big strengths of Four and Romana as a partnership, especially during S17 once they've got that whole Key to Time thing out of the way, is that it doesn't really matter whether you're invested in the idea of the "/" between them. They're just best friends forever, careening slightly manically around time and space on their holidays, holding hands, comedy double-acting at each other and any supporting character they run into, being extremely silly and somewhat cool and most importantly having enormous fun while they're at it.
But then comes S18 and, while there's still a fair bit of the above to be had, things also suddenly get very real. They both know they're on borrowed time together, that their "thing" isn't going to last much longer. It only lasts as long as it does, in fact, because of a freak navigational accident that strands them temporarily in another universe (and you have to suspect that once they're in E-Space, Romana knows in her hearts of hearts that she won't be accompanying the Doctor on the journey back).
And this fic considers the scene that it all turns on; that scene in Full Circle where Romana gets the summons back to Gallifrey and the Doctor...the Doctor shows every sign of just going along with it. "You can't fight Time Lords." He should know. He tried, and look how it turned out for him in the end. Four's reaction is as understandable in that light as his decision to cut Sarah Jane loose before answering that earlier summons, but the quiet tragedy of what I've heard described as Four and Romana's "break up" is there if, like me, you're a fan of the pair of them. And this fic nicely examines that scene, describing the thoughts and emotions that we can only guess from the performances on the television screen. And then it turns it on its head, and yes, you could describe it as a "fix it" were it not for the real sense you get that, the positive note the fic ends upon aside, the Doctor's decision here may or may not end well for either him or Romana - it's a terrible risk they're both taking. And yet, sometimes it is better to fight and lose than not to fight. Or even run. And the ending makes me go sort of "Awww", and that's worth a rec in itself. :)
He recognized the desperation in her tone and the wild look in her eyes. He had been the same just before stealing a decommissioned TARDIS and effectively declaring himself an outlaw. She was a mirror of his younger self, desperate to exchange the stifling realm of the Time Lords for the vast universe in all its beauty and its glory. He could travel to the very beginning of the universe, but this was really looking into the past.