This story takes place during 2k3 season 4, after "Return of Savanti" but before "Good Genes". Neither story arc is the focus, but related events are briefly mentioned.

Chapter1: Prologue

He wasn't a large man, but his footsteps seemed to shake the walls. The echoes bounced menacingly around the stone corridor, making it hard to tell how close he actually was. Renet knelt before the mammoth golden statue that held the time scepter, hands folded, head bowed. Her eyes were closed, but it didn't stop the tears from trickling steadily down her face. Usually the sound of those footsteps was enough to fill her with dread...but not today. For once, she was beyond fear. Beyond shame. Beyond regret. For once, she was willing to accept responsibility.

The footsteps grew louder and changed pitch as he rounded the final bend in the hallway. She could feel him coming up behind her like an approaching storm cloud. If she turned around, she knew she'd see the black rage in his eyes. He had forgiven her countless times before. But he wouldn't now. He came to a stop behind her.

"Renet. What have you done?" He didn't yell. His voice was flat, a barely audible rumble.

She didn't answer.

"Do you have anything to say for yourself?" He was picking up volume now. "You broke one of the most important laws of time. You caused four deaths. Do you have any idea of the disaster you could have caused? You nearly destroyed an entire TIMELINE!" She flinched as Lord Simultaneous' roar reverberated like thunder in the empty hall. "ANSWER ME, RENET!"

She opened her eyes. "I knew."

Her quiet admission took the wind out of Lord Simultaneous' sails. "You what?"

"I knew what could happen."

"You knew," he repeated, voice thick with outrage. "You knew, and you did it anyway? Even if you hadn't known the consequences, this means a permanent end to your role as timestress, at the very least! You could be banished from Null Time for this!"

She blinked her burning eyes, letting fresh tears run down her face. "I know that, too."

The time lord was stunned into silence.

Renet took a deep, shaky breath and stood up, looking down at her master. "And I'd do it again."

Simultaneous' bulldog face went slack with disbelief.