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22 December 2006 @ 08:23 pm
Photograph  
Title: Photograph
Genre: angst/ and well more angst
Rating: K+/PG (implied genocide)
Word Count: 1,288
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (10)/Romanadvoratrelundar (undetermined)
Summary: The Doctor's memories are stirred with a fire and a photo.
A/N: I want to thank ikindofrock for the main beta, but also forceiswithyou and not_last_resort for a last look over.



“It was an accident. Look Doctor, I’m sorry. It’s all replaceable, yeah?” She started to trail off. “I mean it’s not like the TARDIS is small.” The Doctor finally looked up and Rose was starting to think that she should have just shut up after “It was an accident.” He looked back to the fire.

It was a small fire, in a small hermetically sealed-off room. It should have meant nothing. Except he had been collecting things to remind him of home since his first exile and this small hermetically sealed-off room had always housed these things. Ever since Susan was the only person he traveled with. Since he was a young man in an elderly body. Ever since his hands were clean of blood, ever since there was no damned spot to remove.

He thought about going in and heroically saving them. Like you should have done before. Instead he just looked at the fire. It was growing quickly fueled by papers, from the highest level of bureaucracy, the last of its kind, like you, wooden objects, ornaments burned, as the flames were growing higher. The metal would be saved, so would any rocks. Her wooden hair pin from Egypt (Rassilon she hated Cleopatra) would not.

“Maybe we should pour water onto it, find a fire extinguisher, something.” Rose said interrupting his train of thought.

“Right, of course.” No, step into the fire. Finish it. Let it engulf these memories, the TARDIS, you. Then it would be done, be done for good this time.

“Do you have a fire extinguisher around here some where?” Rose asked, glad she had finally gotten him to speak.

He was looking into the fire again. He could only think of what he saw, and it was burning, the edges crumbling inward, just as she had. “I don’t know.” He stepped closer to the fire. “She would know.” He whispered. His face twisted into a smile. A smile that was tainted by pain and death, and memories too long buried. It was horrible, like a gruesome mask. He wants to cry, and he wants to laugh as he looks at the photo the memories came back,. Already your mind is betraying you though, because sometimes you forget the details of her face, her favoured hand gestures, the slight twitch of her lips.

“Who, Doctor?”

“Romana, Romanadvoratrelundar, or Fred as she would have preferred.” He laughed. Though you’re crying, and your hearts seem to crumble like your picture of her, and it looks so much like what you imagined she looked like dying.

“Another one of your companions?” Rose said. She could not keep the bitterness from her voice.

He couldn’t bring himself to say yes, he couldn’t lie, not just this moment.

“Doctor.”

“No Rose, she was superb.”

“Doctor, there is a fire. We have to deal with it.”

“Right, I can vent the air from the room, suffocate the fire.” He made no move to do so. One foot forward, and the temptation becomes too great.

“Doctor.” Rose laid a hand on his arm. “Come on, one step closer and you’ll be on fire yourself.”

He smiled again and it scares her –the innocent child– because it’s so mad. Is that what you are? Mad? Bonkers? A loon? “No. It won’t kill me. Fire won’t kill me, tried it before. Sometimes I doubt anything will actually work.” He turned away form the fire and walked out the door, Rose hurrying to keep up.

He closed the door with slow deliberate actions. He went to one of the roundels of the TARDIS. His head and hands disappeared for a few moments as he fiddled with the wires, oddly enough though the only noise that came from him was the occasional buzz of the sonic screwdriver. He stepped back, and a rush of air filled the hall and Rose’s hair blew back; the Doctor’s jacket blew up in small triangles. Then the hall was still again.

“I guess that’s taken care of then.” Rose said. “I’ll see you later.” She walked away quickly, scared to some degree by his odd actions.

The Doctor waited for a few moments before walking to the door. He entered the small room. The items were scattered and charred. He stood there for a few moments before a paper fell at his feet, zigzagging its way down. It was the photograph. He smiled bitterly at the happenstance of it all.

He picked up the photo, let his fingers trace the long dead face. It was oddly symbolic for him. Taken in the beginning, on her first trip to Earth. It was shot and presented to him by that old woman. Rutherford? Ruth? Rumford? What was the name? And it’s just one more thing to add to the list of what you forget. The turn of her lips, and the feeling of her knuckles, sharply pronounced under the soft skin.

Professor Nameless had been taking pictures of the “stones” and had, on a whim, he supposed, taken a picture of Romana and the supposed Vivien Fay. She had given him the negative right before they left, saying it was the least she could do, and besides he should have pictures of his sweetheart, and under other circumstances –then and now- you would laugh at the term. Under other circumstances he would have corrected her. He would have told the Professor that they were traveling companions and that Romanadvoratrelundar was too much of a condescending, know-it-all to be anybody’s sweetheart. He had meant to say that, he was sure of it somehow though the words hadn’t formed and all that had come out was thank you.

It was left in an envelope in a pocket, protected from exposure for a while before he printed it. Soon after that whole Kroll incident, he had rediscovered the negative and decided that he would develop it, out of boredom if nothing else. He had printed it on Gallifreyan paper, knowing the Earth material on which it was printed would hardly last a quarter of his projected lifetime.

He never told her, never even thought about telling her. Over time, he gradually gained other items that depicted her. Many of her second regeneration, but even some of her first (photos of her at the academy), left behind when she finally outgrew him and left. He had removed many of the things from her room before it was jettisoned. Sometimes you wonder if you would have rather not survived the big bang than go through with the rest of your miserable lives. Now, all memories of her, all memories of them, Gallifrey, and a great power, all reduced to this room, this burnt, charred room. The photograph held all he needed though: her hair caught in a breeze, her bare feet, practicality winning over every and anything else in her rational brain. It showed her using a piece of equipment too primitive for her to even mock. The way she bit her bottom lip as she concentrated, a girl still naive enough to be scared of death, and too wise not to expect it. It held a million futures. It held Romana. Who, in turn, held everything he ever valued about life, you destroyed it all though, didn’t you, you destroyed her.

Now the photo held another importance though. He had seen the fire starting to encroach upon it, he had predicted how it would try to burn her from existence, and he had saved her. She sat there preserved in this photo, because he saved her. This time anyway. He had saved her one more time. He had saved her, and he would never admit that it was really much too late for that.

PLEASE REVIEW, please *puppy dog eyes*
 
 
Mood: accomplished
 
 
 
Emilyemmy_bemmy on December 23rd, 2006 02:48 am (UTC)
That was definately very sad but well written. It's true though, saving things that have meaning, and when it's time to save them or let it go, wavering between keeping them or not.

*sighs*

Life goes on.
original sinsuality: Romana I - companionladyvivien on December 23rd, 2006 01:07 pm (UTC)
I love you. That was just perfect and yummy and sad and so so so fucking Ten.
is that BABOU?!: DW Romana I Fred txtoltha_heri on December 23rd, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I especially appreciate the Ten comment as someone said it wasn't very Ten, they had only seen a few episodes but I was still worried.
remember my prophetic chickensagapi42 on December 23rd, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)
That was just amazing. I love it so, so much. The 'voice' in italics, the way Rose couldn't really understand 'It's all replaceable' and well, everything! *is incoherent*
The Island of the Fay: ten romanaatraphoenix on December 24th, 2006 12:50 pm (UTC)
I absolutely loved that!
HM: Romana 1leia_black on December 24th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
Absolutely adored that. So very ten.

She sat there preserved in this photo, because he saved her. This time anyway. He had saved her one more time. He had saved her, and he would never admit that it was really much too late for that. Just so sad and put so well, he can save the memories but not her, not anymore. The way you described the photograph was just perfectly Romana.

Fantastic.

(here from otp_probably)
daggettsmydogdaggettsmydog on December 26th, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)
Wow. I may not know much about Who, but I know that was amazingly depressing. Some of my favorite lines:

"It was growing quickly fueled by papers, from the highest level of bureaucracy, the last of its kind, like you..."

I love the way you sneak in that little sharp jab so easily and effortlessly to add a whole other level of pain to the moment.

"Already your mind is betraying you though, because sometimes you forget the details of her face, her favoured hand gestures, the slight twitch of her lips."

So very vivid using so few words. Brilliant. I don't know how else to say it.

He laughed. Though you’re crying, and your hearts seem to crumble like your picture of her, and it looks so much like what you imagined she looked like dying.

Now that just hurts. I positively love the way you're able to so almost casually throw in these really powerful lines into your story and make it that much better.

Amazing story. You are truly the angst queen!
(Deleted comment)
Rachel: Dire need of a crumpetpurple_bug on January 30th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
Feeling too ill to be eloquent today, but I agree with everyone else. Sad and nostalgic and perfectly in character, loved it.
is that BABOU?!: DW Four/Romana II husholtha_heri on January 30th, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I hope you feel better.