Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1957
Author's Summary: Peri and the Doctor discuss botany, and the Doctor remembers what interests her.
Characters/Pairings: Peri Brown, The Doctor (6th)
Recced because: Only the other day, I was discussing the venerable Who tradition of offloading surplus companions by marrying them off to random guest characters, and mentioned that I thought Vicki taking off with Troilus was actually one of the occasions when it worked as a storytelling choice. One of the more bizarre examples has to be Peri's apparent romance with Yrcanos at the end of Trial of a Time Lord. I think in recent years I've come around to the idea of it, however ill-advised it might seem. For one thing, it's a better outcome for Peri than the other alternative facing her in that particular story. For another thing, I've found that I actually quite like BRIAN BLESSED's turn in "Mind Warp" and his interactions with Peri - you can almost believe in their relationship if you, like, squint a bit. I also rather like the bizarre version of events given in the epilogue of the Target novelisation, where he somehow ends up as a pro wrestler in 1980s California with Peri as his manager. I think the main thing that's brought me around to quite liking Peri's ending, however, is that there is so much really nice fic out there about what she did next. And this, from a writer who needs no introduction around these parts, is a very fine example.
There is much more to this fic than that, however. We get a nice scene from the period when Peri was still travelling with Six, which features a discussion of botany (nice to see Peri getting a chance to use her expertise) and of Gallifreyan botany in particular. I'm a sucker for Gallifreyan worldbuilding at the best of times, but this is some tip-top stuff addressing a bit of lore we've all heard of but perhaps not thought too deeply about and in a genuinely science-fictional manner too. The part of the story set in Peri's post-Doctor period is just as good, with lots of nice hints about just what sort of society Krontep is (Yrcanos, you may not be entirely surprised to discover, is not some weirdly violent outlier as far as his culture and people go), and how Peri's time there hasn't always been easy but how she has managed to make a fulfilling life there. The main thing I like about this fic, however, is the great characterisation (something I always come back to when discussing fics I like); Peri and the Doctor both shine here, with Six's unique manner and verbosity coming through particularly clearly. I think it's Peri you'll remember afterwards, though, for her wit, her wisdom and her overcoming of adversity, as well as the heartfelt but not uncritical affection she has for both of the men in her life beyond Earth.
Well, go on - go and read it!
Of course, the figure ahead of her took a bit of the somberness out of the scene. In this setting, in his usual colors, the Doctor managed to achieve near-perfect anti-camouflage. "Solemn, I should think," he opined. "Fuliginous, definitely. Or umbral. And certainly boreal. But I wouldn't say bleak."
"So, synonyms for black, then?" Peri said sweetly, and got herself glared at. He didn't deny it, and Peri decided to count it as her point.