Characters: Romana, Narvin, Leela, Brax, and Fivebot, who is tardiscrash's wonderful brainbaby
Word Count: 2,032
AN: The lovely Mr. tardiscrash and I decided that we would give each other fic prompts. His was ‘anything with Fivebot,’ who is an OC of his. I explained to him that this was me and when you say ‘anything’ I take that as ‘Gallifrey fic.’ So this happened.
"I haven’t got time for this," said Romana, pursing her lips in obvious distaste. "I leave it to you to deal with…it, Cardinal. He’s your brother, after all.”
Braxiatel refrained from mentioning the fact that his schedule was at least twice as full as the Lady President’s, and the additional fact that, as evidenced by the small metal box wagging its tail beside her ankles, the Lady President in question had done far more to encourage his sibling’s unfortunate interest in primitive electro-mechanical toys than Brax ever would. Two-and-a-half lifetimes of experience had long since made Brax very talented indeed at refraining from mentioning all manner of things, however. In this particular case, the effort involved was evidenced only by the momentary twitch of a single muscle in his cheek. ”As my President wishes,” he said, bowing slightly. Taking it by the arm, he added, ”Come along… you.”
The humanoid in Brax’s grip was wearing an expression of peaceable bemusement of which Braxiatel suspected he, for one, would very soon tire. ”The Master told me the Lady Romana liked the Doctor,” said it. ”I’m just like him, aren’t I? Doesn’t she like me, too? If I’m just like him, she should like me, too.”
The android looked at Braxiatel with expectant pleasure, as though proud of the logic of its deduction. ”I believe your information is somewhat out-of-date,” said Brax. ”The Lady Romana used to like the Doctor. The Lady Romana cannot now, strictly speaking, be said to like anyone.”
Romana glared up from her desk. ”As much as I adore being discussed as though I’m not in the room, I would appreciate it if you continued this conversation elsewhere. Anywhere else.”
The bot’s expression was now one of real concern. He leaned to stage-whisper loudly into Braxiatel’s ear. ”She doesn’t look very happy.”
"I believe you will find, Five," said Braxiatel, as he herded the Doctor’s doppel out of the Presidential office, "that very few people in this universe do."
“For the surpassing simple reason that most people are not happy.”
"I don’t like it when people aren’t happy. Can’t you make her happy?”
"Oh, my dear young android," sighed Braxiatel, "would that I could."
"Don’t you know how?"
"I’ve entertained one or two notions on the subject, but as to methods which she might possibly permit me to carry out, I haven’t a clue."
"But I thought everyone on Gallifrey knew everything." That look of puzzled concern was back on Five’s face, but a moment later it cleared, leaving him beaming. "I’m learning so many things! I like learning new things."
"Do you indeed," said Braxiatel, beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. "Perhaps I could leave you with the archivists in the Academy library until suitable transport off-planet can be found for you."
"Transport? Does that mean I have to go away?"
"Well, you certainly can’t stay here,” said Braxiatel, shuddering slightly at the thought.
"You aren’t a Time Lord."
"I look like a Time Lord.”
"Humans look like Time Lords, and they cannot live here, either."
"The Master told me about the Lady Leela. She’s a human, and she can live here."
"The Lady Leela married a Time Lord."
"Can I marry a Time Lord and stay here?"
"Did you have any particular Time Lord in mind?" asked Brax, wryly.
"Do you think the Lady Romana would marry me?"
"Apart from any other considerations, that would be far too much like incest for my particular tastes."
"What’s incest?" asked Five.
Braxiatel gave the bot a sideways glance. ”Ask me again when you’re older.”
Five frowned. ”But I don’t know any other Time Lords on Gallifrey,” he said. ”Can I marry someone I don’t know?”
"I certainly wouldn’t recommend it."
Braxiatel and his robotic companion rounded a corner, and Brax’s office door came into view. Unfortunately, so did the black-and-white-clad figure standing before it.
"Ah, just the hint of piquancy my afternoon required," said Braxiatel. "It’s always such a pleasure to find you stalking my footsteps, Narvin."
Narvin opened his mouth, no doubt prepared with one of his choicest barbs. Before he could speak, however, Five outpaced Braxiatel, and stopped only centimeters from Narvin, well within his personal space, studying him intently. Narvin, after a moment of stunned silence, had just opened his mouth to speak when Five cut him off. ”Will you marry me?” he asked, cheerfully.
Braxiatel had thought that minding this fatuous semi-sentient toy would be nothing but a bother and a chore. He quickly revised that assessment as he watched Narvin’s face turning purple.
”What?” Narvin ground out, through clenched teeth.
"You’re a Time Lord," said Five. "If I marry a Time Lord, I can stay on Gallifrey. I would like to stay on Gallifrey, it’s very interesting here. But Cardinal Braxiatel says he won’t marry me, and that I can’t marry the Lady Romana. Will you marry me?”
Narvin, whose composure seemed by this point to have been at least minimally recovered, shot Brax a sympathetic glance. Braxiatel, always willing to give credit when due, begrudgingly admired the other Time Lord’s unique ability to convey sarcasm even without speech. ”So he’s finally cracked, has he?” asked Narvin. ”Well, what can one expect from such a life? We at the CIA did our best to reform him, of course, but there was only so much any of us can do. It was only a matter of time before that kind of life would be bound to destroy his mind.”
Fivebot turned back to Braxiatel. ”Is my mind destroyed?” he asked, with considerable surprise. ”My processors report that they are running at full capacity. Are my sensors damaged?”
"This is not the Doctor, Narvin," said Braxiatel, ignoring the android. "As an expert on Renegades, I’m certain you are familiar with the Master, and his…fascination with the Doctor?"
"Processors," said Narvin, staring at Five. "It’s an android?"
"And not a particularly advanced one," replied Brax. "The Master used to be a technical genius. He’s the Renegade whose degeneration you should be lamenting."
"Excuse me, but…" said Five
"You’re telling me the Master built this…thing?" Narvin interrupted, backing up a step. "How did it get here?”
Braxiatel reached into his pocket, and handed Narvin a wide gold bracelet. ”I had intended to hand this over to you in any case. Your Agency really ought to see to it that these things are better controlled, you know. When time rings can fall into the hands of half-witted machines, the CIA can hardly claim to have a very tight grasp on Gallifreyan temporal security, can it?”
"That isn’t very…" tried Five.
"If it wasn’t for interfering politicians who don’t let us do our jobs…"
”You’re a politician, Narvin. If you can’t play the game well enough to win, it’s no use blaming…”
"The difference between you and me, Braxiatel, is that I don’t consider protecting Gallifrey from mad would-be dictators to be a g…"
Narvin attempted to finish his sentence, but if he managed it at all, Braxiatel couldn’t hear it behind the sudden air-raid siren wail from somewhere near his feet. The android approximation of his brother had flopped down on the floor in a flurry of flapping beige and begun to sob wildly, his pale complexion blotching with irregular patches of red.
"The Master isn’t mad," the thing boo-hoo’ed, so loudly that Braxiatel wondered why it had possibly been programmed to allow such volume, "and he isn’t degenerating, and I’m not half-witted, and you’re both being mean.”
Narvin and Brax exchanged expressions of bewildered distaste. ”I had considered dragging this thing off and putting it on trial for the Doctor’s crimes, or the Master’s crimes, or possibly both,” shouted Narvin, over the din, “but somehow it occurs to me that might not be the wisest possible plan.”
"Now, Five," said Braxiatel, sternly, "we don’t make such scenes on Gallifrey. It isn’t dignified."
"What have you done?" cried a new voice, from the far end of the hall. "Narvin! If you have made the Doctor cry, I will slit your throat!"
"He isn’t the Doctor, Savage," sneered Narvin, as Leela dashed towards them. "I should have thought even you could have seen that.”
Leela frowned, as she skidded to a stop before Fivebot and knelt beside him. ”Do not cry, not-Doctor,” said Leela, laying her hand on Five’s arm. He looked up at her through tear-filled blue eyes, and sniffled. ”All will be well. What has Narvin done, to make you so unhappy?”
"Braxiatel did most of…" Narvin muttered, but Leela shot him a vicious glare, and he left off.
"He…they…" Five hiccuped. "They said things that…that weren’t very nice."
"Yes, they do such things," said Leela, soothingly, smoothing Five’s hair. "You must forgive them. Their parents sent them away when they were very small. They had no one to teach them the right way to behave."
"I have a parent," said Five, confidentially. "He would never send me away. Or say unkind things."
"I am glad to hear it," Leela replied. "Would you not like to go home to him?"
"I…I think I would," sniffled Five. "I thought I would like to see Gallifrey—that’s where the Doctor comes from! But the books don’t have any pictures, and there aren’t any bunnies, or kittens, or cakes, or puppies, or rainbows, or ponies, or…"
"Yes," said Leela, hurriedly, her lips twitching slightly. "Well, then, we shall find a way to send you home. There is a thing called a Spoon of Time, is that not so, Braxiatel?"
It took Brax a moment to make the connection. When he did, and was forced into a cough to cover his laugh. ”A Timescoop, yes. They aren’t what you might call strictly legal, of course, but I’m sure the CIA must have one or two that have just happened to escape destruction. Isn’t that right, Coordinator?”
"I and my Agency would never…"
"Oh, skip the denials, Narvin. I won’t tell Romana if you won’t."
"I won’t tell her, either," said Five, cheerfully. He turned back to Leela. "What am I not telling her?"
Narvin sighed. ”Fine,” he agreed. ”If it gets this…thing off my planet that much sooner. Come along, machine.”
"Do not be afraid," said Leela, pulling Five up by the arms. "I will accompany you. You must tell me who you are, and why you look so like the Doctor. Is he the parent you spoke of?"
"Not yet," replied Five, as he and Leela followed Narvin down the corridor, "but the Master says that someday, we’re all going to live together like one big family, and…"
Braxiatel had long since learned the wisdom of the old saying concerning discretion and valor. There were things, he thought, that no sane Time Lord should have to listen to, particularly where his mad renegade brother and said brother’s equally mad, equally renegade stalker were concerned. As none of the other three seemed to be taking any notice of him just at the moment, he seized on his chance to sidle into an adjacent corridor and make a quiet getaway.
He may have already accustomed himself to the possession of nephews, but Braxiatel saw no reason, at his age, to be any too hasty to embrace a new member of the family who was quite so fond of kittens.