Title- In Memoriam
Summary- The Doctor remembers Romana. Ever so slightly shippy, but mostly just an ode to the greatest character ever to appear on Doctor Who.
A/N- Now, before you start arguing about my statement in the summary, or ask me what happened to my love of Donna and the Doctor and whatnot, remember that I said "greatest character." I still think Donna is the best companion, and the Doctor is, of course, wonderful, but Romana was something absolutely special, something we've never seen before and never will see again. Romana was an absolute paradigm, and I think if anyone in the Whoniverse deserves the title of "goddess," it's not the Bad Wolf- it's Romanadvoratrelundar, who has the most beautiful name EVER.
"Remembrance can be a sentence,
But it comes to you with a second chance in tow."
-Poets of the Fall
On days like this, when the TARDIS is flying smoothly for once and Rose has her back to him, he remembers her. He can recall every second of their years together in the time it takes to blink, and reprocess it for the millionth time. He sees blonde hair flying as the time ship rocks back and forth and imagines, just for a second, that it's a little darker, with just a hint of red to it.
He remembers the day she came aboard the TARDIS, a gorgeous vision in silver and white, all full of haughtiness and cutting witticisms about his relative intelligence. He was so arrogant back then (well, he still is, but he's changed since then), he was determined to prove how clever he was. She was arrogant, too, so convinced that the Prydonian Academy had given her everything she needed. She was an absolute symbol of everything he resented about Gallifrey, and everything he had run from in the first place, and he was going to turn her world inside-out and shame that out of her if it was the last thing he did.
He started with her name. Romanadvoratrelundar was long, that was true, but it was certainly shorter than his own, and it was an absolutely beautiful name, at that. It rolled off the tongue so smoothly, like quicksilver. He had to change it, though. He had to change her if he was going to come out of their mission with his sanity intact. And so she became Romana, a diminutive of the original.
Within three hours, however, he had realized he was wrong. She was every bit as intelligent as she thought she was. She was inexperienced and incredibly naïve for a Time Lady, but she was an absolute genius, even in Gallifreyan terms. She just had terrible people skills.
Romana stood up to him; he was impressed by that. It had been a good five hundred years since he'd had anyone travel with him who really challenged him. She called him an idiot when he was behaving like one and she was rarely, if ever, impressed by things that had made his previous companions gape in awe. It was a shock, but he had to admit, he had found it refreshing.
And then she regenerated, virtually on a whim!
She was inexperienced there, as well, but she trusted in it and that carried her right through with no problems. It irked him, he had to admit, that she was so much better at regenerating than he. Not only did she have incredible- in fact, perfect- control over her form, she was able to maintain her sense of humor through the process enough to tease him. He wouldn't lie when he said he was jealous.
And then her brilliance really started to show through; her icy shell had melted and everything just burst through.
The Doctor recalled marveling at her. She wasn't what he thought she was- she wasn't a symbol of Gallifrey and everything he had hated about that world. She wasn't just another stuffed robe destined and groomed for a seat on the High Council.
She was a Time Lady, in her very essence. Her wonder at the universe, her absolute innocence, combined with her great intelligence and skill to create a true child of Time. He was tainted from the beginning, and he knew that. He had been stained by the unhappiness of his rocky relations with the rest of the Time Lords and the tragedies that pursued him.
But Romana... she was special. She ran through the millennia, a wide-eyed child with the whole universe as her playground and a fierce and overpowering love of life- her own and others. As her initial Time Lord reclusiveness and exclusivity was stripped away, she revealed a compassionate heart that, though occasionally baffled by strange species and cultures, never failed to fly out to anyone who needed her help and protection.
She danced through Time, golden and untainted and wild, a shooting star and a dandelion seed on the wind all in one, and he could only follow along in her wake, constantly amazed by her. Oh, he certainly pretended he was still in control, because that's who he is, the man in charge. But there was no question that Romanadvoratrelundar was leading him forward by the hand, drawing him out of his perceived exile and into a world where that concept didn't mean anything because there was still so much light in the universe for them to find. Who needed Time Lords when they had everything else they could ever have wanted?
Romana was everything he would have been if his life had taken a different path- perhaps an easier one. She glowed. He knows she never saw it, because that was one of her more beautiful traits: though she was perfectly aware of her own intelligence, she never seemed to see her brilliance. She never noticed how the universe held her, the threads of Time cradling her like their own child, and really, she was. In so many ways, she was more than just a Time Lady. It wasn't just that she had held the Key to Time, either; it was bigger than that. It was just that Time and the universe- much like the TARDIS- simply liked her better.
He remembers how she took to constructing complex machines out of spare parts and random found objects in one of the TARDIS' multipurpose rooms. He remembers the way she raced him to the TARDIS doors, eager to be the first one to set foot on whichever new world they had found. He remembers her voice echoing through the corridors as she sang Gallifreyan lullabies, unaware that he could hear her.
The ghosts of Romanadvoratrelundar are everywhere. It's not just the TARDIS, either. The universe misses her. The universe misses the Time Lords in general, but when he looks into Time, he can see the Romana-shaped hole in the fabric of reality that's never going to heal. She was Time's own beloved child. Her loss isn't something that can be compensated for. Not for the universe, and not for him, either.
And so he blinks, and the moment is gone, and Rose looks like Rose again. But Romana lingers on, right there in his hearts, and maybe tomorrow, or maybe the next day, there will be another moment when he brings her alive in his mind.
As long as he remembers, Romanadvoratrelundar can never truly die.