A First Doctor

A Second Doctor

(A) Third Doctor

#A# Fourth Doctor

*A* Fifth Doctor

^A^ Sixth Doctor

-A- Seventh Doctor

_A_ Eighth Doctor

{A} Ninth Doctor

&A& Tenth Doctor

+A+ Eleventh Doctor

Special guest:

A Romana II

#Four#: The middle aged renegade

Four stayed in the control room long after the scanner had gone blank, the message from Gallifrey still echoing rather forbiddingly around the console room, which was silenced as soon as Romana had closed the door behind her. He said nothing aloud, feeling as if nothing could be said, and continued to pilot the TARDIS for the next few minutes while he ate his jelly babies and thought to himself.

Letting go of companions was never anything he'd ever really had chosen to do by force. They always left by some decision that was not made by him, and he would just nod sadly and let them go, wishing them luck in whatever they chose to do for themselves or others.

This incarnation was quite the difference as he had noticed, since he not only had no decision or control in their leaving, he also apparently had no power over them arriving into his life. After Sarah left, they just seemed to show up and stick around with this incarnation. He never tried to find a friend, they just found him.

Romana was no different from them, but at the same time she was completely different. She was a Time Lord, a rather brilliant one at that, though he would never, ever admit that to her, not even verbally. In fact saying it in his mind right now is a danger as she would somehow find out about it. And if it was one thing Romana was good at, it was finding things out.

Then, she regenerated and things changed, but in a good way. The new Romana was not as arrogant as the last Romana, that didn't mean that she wasn't arrogant, because she most certainly was. But it seemed toned down a tad, which he always found very appropriate, in his own arrogant way.

She was also much more open to the worlds they visited than she was before, very in depth, very interested, if not just a bit uppity over the rather under developed technologies of the time zone, but that was to be suspected of a Time Lord. He himself had done that to the Brigadier many a time during his little earth exile stint.

The Doctor frowned and put his Jelly Babies back in his never ending pocket. Thinking about his exile always did manage to somehow ruin his appitite, even with Jelly Babies.

Moving away from the console, Four pondered over what he should do next. He knew he should go after Romana, who was most likely in her room, completely miserable, but at the same time he didn't know what to say to her, how to comfort her.

Like he said before, she was just like every other companion he had in this life; they walked right into it, ready and happy to do so. But Romana was probably one of the first who did not want to leave when other forces demanded it. The first that he would have to force, an action he would not and never will like.

Well, not really, there was Susan.

Four could already feel his other selves speaking out in his mind, One in particular to defending his action, not that Four was ever saying it was wrong, and never would. He listened to them all Stating how their decision was for her benefit and no one else's. But they didn't understand how different this was, Romana was not Susan. They might both be Time Ladies; both brilliant in their own ways, but that was all that was similar between them in this incarnations opinion.

Susan was made to leave, as stated before, for her own good. Romana was being made to leave for the good of the Time Lords, and no one else. They did not like the fact that she was free, that she was turning away from a normal and acceptable non-interfering existence, but for some reason did not care enough for the longest time to step in. But apparently for some reason right now was when they chose to put their foot down, not even bothering to explain why. Four wasn't sure why they had decided to do this now, what with Romana; this incarnation in particular, had traveled with him for much longer than any other human or other companion. If they really had felt that she should have come back to Gallifrey right after the Key to Time mission was completed, they would have done or said so at the time.

It infuriated him, but at the same time it didn't shock him that they would be so callous. Perhaps they had done this now so as to make her that much more hurt, having given her the thought that she was free, letting the chain of the proverbial dog collar lead out for quite some time, before yanking back, and watch her struggle and plead for the freedom she thought she had. He knew that, because they did it to him, in the very beginning.

They let him think himself free from their ways, but wrangled him back and punished him for leaving. And they did so by forcing his regeneration, changing him from who he was and cruelly giving him some freedom from them, but not freedom altogether.

He didn't want that for her, the thought of it happening to her was worse than the thought of receiving the punishment again and longer. She was much younger than him, younger and more inexperienced than he had ever thought himself. The pain of seeing the world pass him by in the slowest of times that he ever thought possible, it was hard to bear, even for him. She could not be, and hopefully never would be expected to deal with something like that. And that was why, despite his and his other incarnations rather unhappy disagreement with it, he had to send her back to Gallifrey.

This is what they do; they make us just like them.

There was a pause, and Four could feel the hatred that earlier and some later incarnations had for the Time Lords spring anew, burning bright in the small cerebral cranny of the brain that they were all squeezed and stored into after regeneration. Fury, humiliation, regret and shame, such horrid, clashing and gaudy colors of red in his vision.

_How dare they! They have no right! _

*This will not be forgotten!*

^This is what it takes to become really corrupt! ^

-These are weapons they would use!-

Their words of anger blurred together, but the meaning behind them was all the same, all infuriated for her. All afraid for her.

A few notably did not join on their tirade, and instead spoke to Four, edging him away from the console room and into the hallways just beyond the door Romana had exited only a few minutes ago. The red was still in his mind, in front of his eyes, and he wasn't sure what to do.

{Go, talk to her.}

+She might understand, she needs to see that you understand. +

&Please, go to her&

He moved from the room, and into the hallway. The red disappeared as he walked, the other incarnations noticing during their anger fueled moment what he was doing, and soon quieted themselves down, watching him on what he would do next, what he would say next. By the time he reached Romana's room, he was back in his usually as not proper mind before his other selves began their rant.

He does knock, despite the fact he knows she wouldn't care. When he enters she's not even looking at him, not looking at anything really in particular, just the plain colored floor.

"The Time Lords want me back." She looks up at him, but his back's to her. He does this with a sense of regret, feeling as though he was turning his back on her plight. But facing her would be much harder, much more difficult as he would see what was in her eyes. And instead, he got to hear it in his mind as she breached the wall he had built up before he entered the room.

She was always so clever.

Don't let me go back Doctor. I won't be the same if I did.

She doesn't beg, she's too proud to do that and he's proud of her for that. But he even in his mind he tries to ignore her, and instead replies with an excuse which while logically factual, seems flimsy to the both of them.

"Yes well, you only came to help with the Key To Time." She remembers that, he can feel it in his mind, feel her thinking back on her old self, who at this moment is most likely chastising her for even staying around for as long as she did. He smiles and looks over one of her many books, not really reading it as he waits for her next move. He really shouldn't think of this as one of those metal games they usually played, since she was actually serious about this, but it seemed easier to deal with if he did.

"Doctor, I don't want to spend the rest of my life on Gallifrey - after all this!" She stands up to further instigate her determination, which he takes on with ease, nodding to her with the book in his hands, which she takes from him and places back on her desk. He doesn't like what she's alluding to, and decides to beat her to the chase, hoping this harsh dose of reality would stop her.

"Well you can't fight the Time Lords Romana." His other selves continue in their rant, but in quieter murmurs, but he knows her past self is going insane with anger, demanding that she go back to Gallifrey, that she had better not challenge them. But she ignores her first self, instead continuing to be debate, never stopping in her cause.

Just like him.

"You did once." Rants burst anew, on both Time Lords parts. Romana's first incarnation is furious still, demanding her new self see sense. Four's incarnations are no longer angry at the Time Lords, instead their regretful, feeling as though their past, their actions had influenced her to this point, telling her in some strange way that, that this decision was okay.

"And lost." His other selves started to push at the other side of the mental wall he had put up between himself and Romana, wanting to show the far younger and inexperienced Time Lady exactly what she would be in for if she went through with that. What type of humiliation, degrading and embarrassment she would receive from the High Council. How the label of 'renegade' would be branded onto her for the rest of all time. And while she may think little of these things as she often saw the Doctor doing the same, that did not change how big of an effect they would have on her lives, how it would affect her mind.

#You will lose to Romana. You cannot fight them, nor run away from them. #

I could try

Just then, his other selves managed to break down the wall, the flood of voices all speaking at once, leaving the two current Time Lords to wince slightly at the unexpected noise before they calmed down. Though they still spoke over one another in an effort to be heard, leaving quite the jumbled intervention.

-And what would you do then? You cannot run far, you would be caught before you even started.-

Just like we were, or are depending on how you look at it.

You are being rather irresponsible here my dear, you are not like us, there is still a future for you on Gallifrey.

But it's not the future I want.

^Sounding oddly familiar, isn't she? ^

They ignored the comment of Six, a regularly annoying occurrence. Romana even coolly ignored it, which was actually rather polite of her, considering that his comment would have actually helped her cause. They were still sitting in silence, the other incarnations in both their minds becoming silent as well, awaiting what the current Romana would say next. The next move was her's again.

But Three had grown impatient, and instead showed her a very quick metal projection of the life he got to live in this incarnation, how a good first half of it was spent in isolation from the rest of the universe. How hard it had been to get use to the fact that he was stuck on a planet he was not from, how difficult it was to see the old friends that he had known, that since they weren't Time Lords, did not know who he was, and did not trust him.

(And that was my life, and while there is a chance that you would be saved from that type of punishment, it doesn't mean there wouldn't be something worse awaiting you around the corner.)

-And we narrowly escaped a death penalty; the chances of that happening again are sadly very limited.-

&And is you are saved from that, if you're lucky enough to escape punishment, you're name will never be forgotten. They will drag it through the mud until there isn't the slightest amount of clean innocence known behind it. &

The Time Lady sat back down on her bed, the images and words of the Third incarnation having hit some type of cord in her, so they didn't stop there. Two and Six showed her their respected trials, how close they had been to the end, but scrapped by on a lucky chance. Five showed her their reluctance to save his life when it was placed in danger, only because helping him would have placed them in danger.

Then the current Doctor, Four, showed her his own memories of Gallifrey, how his mere presence was manipulated so he was placed in danger, that he only escaped by a trip through the Matrix and a political loophole. But what happened next seemed a little blank in his mind, but he didn't seem that bothered about that, one less bad memory about his home, the better.

_Romanadvoratrelundar, you can be spared from all of this, just by the simplest thing._

(Go home, and be safe.)

Suddenly the TARDIS started behaving oddly, which is a normal occurrence, but the action was not. Romana pulled her mind out of the discussion to take note of what was happening. Four felt his other selves pull away to, knowing that this was the end of the battle, but certainly not the war.

"What's happening?" Four isn't sure himself, but he can tell she knows that whatever is happening, it certainly had nothing to do with returning to Gallifrey.

"I don't know." He looks over at her, the world seeming to tilt and waver at an unusual angle, but he was certain that no matter how disturbed the environment may be, he knew what he had mentally heard from his younger and inexperienced companion.

I can't wait to find out.

Their time in E-space was at an end, the exit had been discovered and they were almost out of there. All it took was a quick run to the TARDIS without even the slightest look behind them, seemed much easier than the effort it took to get this new CVE up and running to escape. They were just at the TARDIS, when she stopped and changed her mind.

"What's the matter?" Romana smiles and shakes her head, stepping a bit back from the TARDIS. She was still smirking when she replies.

"I'm not going with you." Why did he get the feeling that she was going to do this? He really didn't want to have to make her, but then again there was going to be an explosion any moment, and he didn't want to stick around for that.

"Inside, that's an order!" She's still smirking at him, hands on her hips. He hates how grumpy and old he sounds then, but then again he doesn't really care. She was being ridiculous right now, and childish. So he supposed the only way to react was to be childish back.

"No more orders Doctor, goodbye." He was hoping she didn't really mean it, that she was just punishing him in some strange way because she knew the first place they were heading as soon as they reached N-Space was Gallifrey, were she would return to her old life. But no, she was serious and he didn't know whether to be happy for her since she found a freedom that the Time Lords could not stop, or furious that she was choosing it in a way that he would never see her again.

"What a moment to choose!" He was right about that, since if it were any other moment, they could have talked over it, discussed it more. But she was always smarter than that, and most certainly did not want another discussion with their respected past and future selves.

"But it is isn't it? A moment to choose? I've got to be my own Romana." But she was her own Romana, she might have not known that, but it didn't make it untrue. And now she was leaving, so quick and deliberate he wasn't sure if he could even get a word in. She was going to walk away now, on her own. He couldn't just let her do this on her own, there had to be something he could give her to make sure she would be alright. He could hear the sound of rumbling machine and grinned.

"Wait, wait, there's something else." He reaches behind him, K9 waiting patiently to be noticed and taken care of. He hands the mechanical dog over to her; a final gift would be a more fitting title. He makes a quick duck into the TARDIS, feeling that if he stayed outside with her for more than a second longer, he might have dragged her back with him, kicking and screaming. That would have been selfish of him, and he knew it but didn't care.

"I'll miss you." He meant that, really he did. Maybe he thought if he said it she would stay, but she mustn't have heard him as she went to leave, not really saying anything else as she walked off through the white void with her new friend. Already he was missing her, a piece of him going off with her. After all, that version K9 was a very good dog; he might not build another one after him.

"You were the noblest Romana of them all." He slams the doors shut, feeling as though he couldn't control himself enough to not say anything else that would inflate her almost genetic Time Lord ego. Four doesn't say much as he pilots the TARDIS through the CVE, his new companion Adric watching quietly and not daring to speak up, the slightly lowering of the temperature in the control room being an excellent sign that he shouldn't say anything.

He could feel himself growing old, much older in those few seconds than he had ever done the time he had been The Doctor, which was actually far longer than any other incarnation yet. He couldn't feel a constant grin on his face anymore; in fact the large teeth he usually displayed were very well hidden behind his unhappy and grumpy frown.

Now that he was thinking about it, since when did he like burgundy? It seemed a darker colour than he would usually wear, but at the same time it seemed very appropriate for the person he was now. The TARDIS shuddered slightly as it was freeing itself into N-space. The scanner turned itself on to show him and a tag along Adric an image of Romana, K9 and her new friend. She didn't wave, and only seemed to notice the TARDIS as it started to disappear.

His hands seemed so ancient to him, flicking the switches of the console seemed such an effort, the bones in his fingers creaking with every flick. His eyes were tired, he was tired. It was only after his brief discussion with Adric, when he winced at how grumpy, how tired he sounded in his tone and attitude, he knew.

It was time.

After all, a Time Lord can only live so long.

He thinks of what Sarah had said all those years back, far longer than he had ever remembered it before. She was joking, not aware of how true she was actually being in that moment.

"Ah, you'll soon be middle aged." She was forced out too, just like Susan, just like Romana, and it was because of the Time Lords. Because of their rules and regulations that he had to follow, that he chose to follow. Because he didn't want to see her drift away on her own, he was too close to her, like he was with Romana.

That's why he never tried to let anyone in again after she left, why he just let them drop in and out like falling rain. He couldn't do that anymore, his next body he knew, he had to let them in. He had to make that choice, or become old and grumpy and important again.

#I've reached middle age. #

"You know it's interesting, before I met you I was even willing to be impressed."


&Wait, Five was the mid life crisis? I always thought that was Nine. &

{Oi! Watch it Jarvis Cocker.}

This chapter is mostly a Romana II/Four ship, because I ship that, sooo much.

But still I have to make an honorable mention to the wonderful actress who played Romana's first incarnation, Mary Tamm, who is sadly no longer with us.

Another honorable mention goes to Elizabeth Sladen who played Sarah Jane Smith.