Characters/Pairings- Romana I and a handful of OCs
Summary- While the Doctor was staging his tiny rebellion, a little girl was born on Gallifrey who knew a few things about loneliness. Romana before she was Romana.
A/N- As you can tell, I've tied this into my Idris-is-Romana theory. I like that theory, and will never let it go for anything, even if Moffat DOES crush my hopes and dreams AGAIN. Five connected oneshots here. Next one will be up within a week, if things go according to plan.
The girl is born into House Arpexia. She is a natural birth, which is unusual, particularly within Arpexia, the members of which are known for their scholarly and rational ways. But their are black sheep in every family (particularly these days, she's told as she grows older, with more radicals in the generation just preceding her own than ever before in Gallifreyan history). Her mother was always a bit of a wild one; brilliant, incredibly talented, but flighty as Time Ladies go. The child learns quickly to be embarrassed by this.
She is named Idris. It's a nonsense name, given by an illogical mother and a father who couldn't possibly care less. (Later, when she begins her studies, she will realize that her family is what would be called by primitive cultures as dysfunctional, but having no frame of reference during her early childhood, she simply assumes that this is normal.) Her father, Nasalien, is a scientist, specializing in advanced microbiology. It is respectable enough. Her mother, Meliandra, is a composer. It is... well, it's supposedly respectable, as the music of Gallifrey is considered some of the finest in the known universe, but really, it's a job for those people with no grounding in reality. Idris hides from her mother, afraid from the first that somehow she will absorb capriciousness through osmosis if Meliandra comes too near.
From the very beginning, she is reserved. By the time she is three years old, she is just big enough to pull down books from her father's shelves. Most days, she prefers to bury herself in the ancient, dusty tomes rather than expose herself to the noise and fuss of the other Time Tots in the nursery. It doesn't help that most of them were Loomed, meaning they came into this world as children rather than infants, and though they are around her own age, physically they look several years older. She frowns at their antics and tucks herself away in a corner with a book almost as big as she is and hides behind her curtain of dark hair.
The matron in charge of Arpexia's young ones smiles indulgently at her and calls her precocious, and she is. She devours her father's collection, going through the histories and the scientific volumes alike. By the time she is four, she can lecture anyone about proper treatment for Harzibald's Disease or the perfect gravitational balance between the twin suns that allows Gallifrey to maintain its' elliptical orbit.
Her favorites, though, are the stories. Tales of wild exploits out among the stars, of great heroes- sometimes fictionalized accounts of the exploits of Rassilon and Omega, sometimes pure fiction- they capture her imagination and send her spiraling out into a universe filled with wonder and mystery and foreign emotions so intense they bring tears to her eyes and make her hearts beat rapid-fire in her chest. She wants to be one of the heroes she has read about in these stories, brave and fearless and defending the weak, striding out across the universe in search of the next brilliant, madcap adventure.
Unfortunately, Idris is a novelty to the other children- a girl easily as intelligent as any of them (probably more so)- but who looks so much younger. Two of them works up the courage to trespass in her corner.
"Whatcha reading, Iddy?" one young Gallifreyan asks, pulling the book in question roughly from her hands. Idris jumps to her feet, trying to take the book back, but he is taller by far and holds it out of her reach. He examines the cover for a moment, then tilts it to show his compatriot, a little blonde girl who smirks at the title.
"The Grand Adventures of the Fearless Salyavin?" she sneers. "What absolute tripe! Are you really reading this, Iddy? A sensible girl like you?"
The first child turns to the rest of the young ones scattered around the room. "Hey, Iddy's reading about batty old Salyavin!" he calls, and titters break out across the nursery.
Idris stamps her foot. "Give it back, Moleyvi!" she shouts, uncomfortable and afraid under the staring eyes of the other children.
He holds the book over her head, waving it back and forth as she jumps vainly to try and reach for it, inwardly cursing the bad luck of the natural-born.
The blonde girl, meanwhile, isn't quite done mocking her. "Oh Iddy," she says condescendingly. "You really should think more carefully about the things you study. I mean, Salyavin, really? One might as well read stories about the Doctor! You don't want to end up like your mother, do you? All unfocused and wild?"
Idris stops grasping for the book very suddenly.
The boy drops it on the floor in front of her and kicks it, sending it spinning away across the floor. Then he and his friend turn their backs and walk away.
She is shocked by the incident. She doesn't know what to make of her peers' harsh words. She curls up in her corner, eyeing the book as if it may bite her. Part of her wants to cry. In fact, a very large part of her wants to cry very, very much. But she refuses to show anything else that might be deemed "unfocused" by the other children. No sign of capriciousness is going to escape her. She's not her mother. She's not the freak, the one who lives by emotions and whims and fancy rather than reason and fact. She's not. And so she bites down on her tongue hard and holds back the prickling at the corners of her eyes and recites the first two hundred digits of pi in her head and when she's done she's calm again and no harm is done.
When she is unceremoniously returned to her parents that evening, her father asks her where the book she borrowed has gotten to. She tells him she forgot it in the nursery, and is given a frown and harsh words for her trouble.
A/N2- Because even Time Tots can be cruel, and even on Gallifrey families will screw you over. (Ooh, that sounded bitter! I promise I'm not! I love my family, really I do, I haven't been screwed up by them!)