• The summer air was heavy and sweet
You and I on a crowded street
There was music everywhere, I can see us there
In a happy little foreign town
Where the stars hung upside down
A half a world away, far far away
I remember you were laughing
We were so in love, we were so in love
And the band played song's that we'd never heard
But we danced anyway •
"Oh, come on, Doctor, you have to admit this is great," Rose says. She tucks herself next to him, pressing her hand against the tight leather coat covering his crossed arms.
"I didn't say it wasn't good, I just think that parties celebrating the death of another species aren't ones I want to go to."
They'd landed on Yettico Prime earlier that day. The air was thick with perfumed flowers and a heavy atmosphere. It might've even been too heavy to stay, but Jack, being himself, managed to find a brilliant party on the other end of the mountain (right after Rose, being herself, managed to stumble into a number of dangerous men that they had to run from). And now, standing on this illuminated rock face as the twin suns set, it really was lovely.
Not that the Doctor would admit it. It was something one of the men had said, about how the party tonight was a celebration of the destruction of Gallifrey and the end of the Tyrrany. The Tyrrany of the Time Lords, not that Jack and Rose realized that.
"You could at least try to have fun," Rose pleaded.
"Nah, forget about him, Rose, let's dance." Jack reaches out a hand for her, giving her one of his widest grins. He shot a quick look to the Doctor, and then pointedly nodded before taking Rose out onto the part of the dance floor that had been cleared away.
Jack is cleverer than he lets on, it's one of the reasons the Doctor likes him so much, despite everything. Maybe he saw how that man's words affected the Doctor. Jack nods again, looking to the Doctor, and then to something behind him. Or, maybe he just noticed something the Doctor needs to take care of.
Following where Jack had nodded, the Doctor turns around. Standing off in the corner is a woman he hadn't noticed before. Petite, with long, blonde hair. She has her eyes fixed to him, though she stays just on the edge of the party. It's impossible. She can't be standing there, looking at him the way she is.
Before he realizes it, his feet have taken him towards her, until he's only a few feet away.
"Romana," he breathes. "That's impossible, you can't---"
"There isn't any time," she says. "Just listen to me, please."
"You can't be alive," he insists. He's grieved for so long over this, it's impossible, she can't---
"I'm not," she agrees. "This is all just a folded moment of time. Because I have to warn you, Doctor."
"Warn me?" he asks, shaking his head. "Warn me about what? Romana, you're alive!"
She sighs in a way that is utterly familiar to him. So put upon, so frustrated by his inability to listen. He thinks he might remain stubborn, just to watch her make that face again. Just to revel in the familiarity of it.
"You don't believe in prophecies," she says. "But someone will make a prophecy about knocking. Not now, not in this life, but soon. You have to listen to that. The fate of everyone depends on that."
"No one believes in prophecies except the High Council," he says, remaining stubborn for as long as he can.
She doesn't grant him with another one of those irritated expressions, she just looks sad. "Live," she says. "For me, would you?"
He drops the stubborn act and moves right into desperate. She's here, now, she can't go. Not yet.
"And stop feeling sorry for yourself." She snorts in irritation, and then, like a crease shaken out of a shirt, she vanishes.
He's not sure how long he stands there, staring at the place in front of him where Romana stood. Long enough, because before he's entirely sure what happened, Jack's hand is on his shoulder. He's shooed a curious Rose off to find them something to drink.
"Who was she?" he asks.
No answer is really sufficient. The Doctor takes in a breath and does as Romana asked; he pushes away his self-pity. He doesn't understand what she meant, and he doesn't know what prophecy she's talking about, but one day he will. And today, he'll live. Like she asked.
"A friend," he says. "Just a friend."
Muse: The Doctor (Nine)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 719