There is nothing.

And then, she's in the Doctor's TARDIS. It looks quite different, but it feels the same.

The Doctor is already there, straightening his jacket. He blinks. "Romana," he states.

She lets out her breath, manages the same tone. "Doctor."

He frowns and she frowns and then they share a quick, careless hug.

They part, and Romana says, "I should ignore that, shouldn't I?" She nods to the other side of the console, where a jacketless Doctor and his companion play with a beach ball. "She has nice hair, that one. I should have chosen her nuance."

He purses his lips. "I like yours."

"You're staring."

"I'm not entirely sure I'm not hallucinating. You might be just a really vivid memory. With a new face. A very nice face, by the way."

"I suppose yours is all right as well. Why would you remember me with a different face?"

"I don't know, I'm unravelling."

Romana does think about it, for a moment, for the sake of peace. "I think I'm probably real. Although, thanks to you, I'm unravelling too."

The Doctor frowns. "Come on! Don't want to confuse Amy – she can hear us, you know." He leads the way down a metal staircase, into a space beneath the console, where he plops down into some sort of swing. "Would you care to explain?"

Romana runs a hand along a hanging wire, and the TARDIS hums. Through the glass ceiling, which is also a floor, she can see the jacketless Doctor and the beach ball. "I've been studying the cracks, tracked them, tried to understand them. Yes, you were involved too, by default."

"That's all?"

"That's the gist."

"It's too simple. Unless… yes." His face hardens, and then he swings a bit. "You do realise you've probably been an agent of the Silence."

"Of course, but I considered freedom paramount, and the Silence freed me. Don't ask me how, it was… a wordless exchange. Besides, it's gone now. This used to be cracked." She unfastens the belt and holds it up, and it dangles from her hand; she shows him the now crack-less fobwatch. "It's not anymore – I'm still here."

"What is that?"

"It's a belt, on which I have fastened a rather brilliant amalgamation of my fobwatch, a vortex manipulator, an field projector, a multiverse tracker and some other bits and bobs."

"I'm impressed."

She shrugs one shoulder, walks up to the swing and sits in his lap. "You've got a plan."

"Of course I've got a plan."

Above them, the giant ball bounces on the glass, and Amy Pond yells with triumph.

Romana starts to disassemble the belt. The swing moves slowly, from side to side.

He puts his hands on her shoulders. "When we part, you need to make some noise, Romana."

"I can do that."

"Some proper noise."

"I can do that."

"Enough noise to-"

"I'll do it!"

"Good. Do you plan on following me through my unwinding timestream?"

"It's not like I've got anything better to do. I've got at least one stop planned along it, as it is."

"Are you done soon?"

"Should we go already?"

"I think it's time."

She appears in the middle of foliage, shoves waxy leaves out of her face. She removes her coat and drapes it over an arm. The remains of Sharon Pond's shed are quite near, devoid of TARDIS.

There's herself - her fobwatched self with the scarf and the wellies - clutching her head and groaning. "What happened?"

Romana helps her sit up, gives her the coat. "Let's speed up this, shall we." She reaches for the manipulator and programs it. The foliage becomes a greenish stretch of colour, a stagnant unmoving thing; and then it rustles, moves in the wind once again. She remembers thinking, while witnessing it as that human, It's just the same as before. "But the garden isn't," she says, now, like she should.

Her self peers between a pair of twigs. "Why is she there?" she asks. "Has she locked herself out? I have to help her inside…"

Romana takes a look. The little red suitcase was out there now, and on it slept Amelia Pond. "Don't worry, he'll take care of her."


"He." Romana nods to thin air.

The Doctor appears almost exactly where she thought he would. He glances between them. "Oh, just look at you!"

"Quite pleased with the hair on that one," Romana acquiesces. "Though I suppose it could be because the projection field was new."

"Are you all right?" he asks her human self. He extends a hand and she lets him help her up. "Of course you are, you will be. I'm scaring you. Never mind me!"

"Don't you wonder what happened to her?" asks Romana. It comes out rather more archly than she intended.

"I already know what happened. The watch-manipulator-whatever-it-is failed because of the approaching TARDIS, sending her into shock."

"The crashing TARDIS."

"That wasn't my fault. Well, it was. Except not really."

"I'm phoning an ambulance," Romana says, into thin air, while extracting a multipurpose device from a pocket. "Do try to keep your mouth shut about this. I know you will, but I have to say it, you know." Her self's mouth opens a little, but then she nods, once.

The Doctor reaches out and closes a hand around Romana's free one. "Thank you," he says, and there is a hint of acceptance in his voice.

"Of course," she says. "It will work." Of course it will. The cracks will close, and the Doctor will return. Of course it will. He has some sort of plan and she has a few of her own, and eventually they'll meet again and have bouillabaisse and talk about things.

With calculated movements, the Doctor removes his hand from hers and pushes a clump of greenery aside. Then he looks at Amelia Pond and smiles. "I should go. I need to wake a little girl up and tell her to go to sleep."

the end.