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Complete Strangers

by Andraste

[Story Headers]

Romana was beginning to think that she should have decided to be taller after all. It would have made certain things considerably easier.

"Would you mind terribly bending your head?"

"Hmmmm?"

She sighed. Of course it would be asking to much for him to respond to a polite request, especially when he was engaged in an intense contemplation of the Basilica of Sacre Coeur from below. They had paused half way up the steps so that he could expound upon the history of the building, and he'd become distracted.

"I said, would you mind bending your head?"

"What for?" the Doctor inquired, without turning to look at her.

"Because I should rather like to kiss you."

At least that drew his attention away from the fascinating Paris architecture for a moment.

"Why would you want to do that?"

Romana was momentarily taken aback. She had considered many possible outcomes of simply asking him, but it had not occurred to her that he'd demand an explanation.

"The usual reason, I suppose."

"In my experience, there are no usual reasons."

"Perhaps they're unusual ones, then," Romana said, smiling at him. Considering the object of her interest, they probably had to be. Disconcertingly, the Doctor did not smile back.

"Your first incarnation never wanted to kiss me."

Strictly speaking, that was not quite true, but she had certainly never said anything about it. She had not thought it advisable. Romana had been surprised to find that regeneration had altered her feelings on the matter completely - wandering around Paris and saving the human race from being removed from existence, it had begun to seem like the most sensible idea she'd ever had.

"Well, I want to."

"We've barely been introduced."

By the standards of polite Time Lord society - which the Doctor hardly attended to - he was quite right. Romana felt, however, that facing Daleks together and saving Paris from the last of the Jagaroth was sufficient introduction, even if he was only counting from her regeneration. Perhaps this was simply his way of putting her off politely, although all things considered that did not seem very likely.

Just when she was wondering if she should apologise, or change the subject, or whatever it was one did in these circumstances, she found herself whisked into the air. The Doctor put his hands around her waist and lifted her, without apparent effort, onto the step above the one he was standing on.

"I think that you may find it easier to reach now," he said, and it was only then that she saw the sparkle of humour in his eyes.

It was, in fact, much easier. The Doctor had such good ideas.

Romana kept her eyes open, so as not to miss anything, and after some time she became aware that they were drawing a few stares from the tourists milling around them. She began to wonder why, since they were hardly the only couple - and wasn't it much to soon to think of herself and the Doctor as a couple? - in Paris 1973.

Eventually, even people with respiratory bypass systems needed to breath, and she thought she should ask if they'd broken some Earth taboo she wasn't aware of. "What are they staring at?" she asked, pulling away. "I thought that most human cultures approved of public displays of affection."

The Doctor straightened his scarf slightly and thought about it. "Perhaps it's that I must look rather older than you."

"I don't see how that's any of their business - I thought that this was supposed to be the city of love." She put her hat back on.

"I wonder what they'd say if they knew how large the age difference actually is. Not May and December so much as Renaissance and Industrial Revolution, you know."

If Romana remembered her Earth history correctly - and she did - it was more analogous to the Middle Ages and the Information Age. Still, that wasn't the point. "I am on my second regeneration, and into my second century. Hardly a child by the standards of any species."

"There's a species somewhere in the Orion Nebula that doesn't consider its members of age until they've reached their first millennium." The Doctor removed his hands from her waist, and before she knew it he was loping down the steps. Perhaps they could visit the Basilica in some other year.

"Where are we going?" she asked, having to scurry to catch up.

"Back to the TARDIS, where we won't frighten the horses."

"And what then?" Romana was hoping that they could do that again.

"I would never dream of taking advantage of you."

She fell into step beside him as he matched his pace to hers. "What if I decided to take advantage of you instead?"

"Ah," said the Doctor, voice serious but eyes twinkling, "naturally that would be quite different."

He put out his hand for her to hold as they descended together, on their way to somewhere else.

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Fandom:  Other (Doctor Who)
Title:  Complete Strangers
Author:  Andraste   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  G  |  het  |  4k  |  06/11/05
Characters:  The Fourth Doctor, Romana II
Pairings:  Four/Romana II
Summary:  "Time travel is like visiting Paris. You can't just read the guide book, you gotta throw yourself in. Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, get charged double, and end up kissing complete strangers. Or is that just me?"
Notes:  Set just after 'City of Death'.
Disclaimer/Other:  I do not own the Doctor or Romana. Nor do I make money writing fanfiction about them.

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