we are friends and my child’s first word was your name and im jealous but also kind of endeared
The Doctor was surprised when Romana didn’t immediately start quizzing him.
“Aren’t you going to ask what’s in the basket?” he asked, indicating the object he had settled just under the edge of the console.
“Don’t need to. I know the customs of this planet.”
“How? You’ve never been to Trelinda VI.”
Romana sighed heavily and shook her head.
“I can read, Doctor.”
She stepped ‘round K9 and crouched beside the basket for a moment.
“I don’t see why they give away their smallest loomlings, though. And why to a bellowing lummox who only foiled the Arch-Graken by tripping him with a scarf and sending him into the lava pits.”
“I’m a great hero, Romana! They want me to raise this little orphaned child to be an amazing, world-saving entity like myself.“
With a toss of her head, Romana stood and strolled out of the control room.
“What are you doing?”
The Doctor glanced up and grinned; in the high-chair, his new child began to howl.
“I was just feeding little Archelaeus.”
“Oh. Well, isn’t - don’t they put machines for that in the TARDIS? I know later models have…”
“Romana, only exploratory models are outfitted with mini-looms and the attendant equipment. Surely you know that.”
“Of course I do. Still, to directly feed the little - thing…”
Looking askance at the child, Romana edged closer and dared to ruffle his hair with her fingertips.
“Still,” she said, “he seems not entirely a bother.”
Archelaeus stopped his crying and smiled toothlessly up at her.
“Come on, Archie. Say ‘Doctor!’ Say ‘Doctor!’“
Archelaeus looked confusedly up at the Doctor, then went back to smacking two small metal bricks together. The Doctor grumbled and flopped over onto his back on the rug, staring at the child sort of upside-down.
“Why won’t you talk?” the Time Lord asked. Archie grinned and slammed his bricks on either side of the Doctor’s nose.
The Doctor howled, bolting upright.
Romana came rushing in. On the floor at the Doctor’s feet, Archelaeus was giggling.
“Oh, Doctor, what have you done?”
“It wasn’t me! It was Archie! He…”
As the Doctor pointed toward his tiny charge, the child scrambled to his feet and toddled over to Romana.
“’MANA!” he shouted.
“Now,” the Time Lady said, stooping to pick the child up, “what have we done to make the Doctor shout?”
“Womana,” Archie burbled, burying his face against her hair.
“Did - did he just say your dabe?” the Doctor asked, one hand clasped to his aching, bloodied nose.
“Yes, I suppose he did,” Romana smiled, then spun on her heel and started to carry Archelaeus out of the little nursery.
In the doorway, she glance back.
“Better get to the infirmary. Your nose could be broken.”
The Doctor grumbled.
Crunching himself as far down as possible into his chair, the Doctor glared across the parlour. Romana was sitting quite happily with Archelaeus on her lap, reading to him from a book of Gallifreyan nursery stories. The child seemed absolutely delighted.
The Doctor didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“I think it’s time someone was in their cot,” Romana said as the little one yawned several times in rapid succession.
“Stay, Womana?” Archelaeus asked.
“I’ll stay with you a while, yes.”
As they left, the Doctor turned around and knelt on his chair, watching them. Archelaeus made some buzzy little noise, and Romana laughed, then imitated the sound. They were acting positively like a parent and child, and the Doctor wanted to be upset. After all, hadn’t he taken the child in? Hadn’t he fed him, bathed him, done all the little things? Hadn’t he been a parent before, and a pretty good one?
Somehow, though, he couldn’t find it in his hearts to stay upset. Certainly he would have preferred that Archelaeus spoke his name, called out for him when frightened or in need. At the same time, there was something sweet about seeing Romana, who even in this new incarnation still had shreds of her old by-the-book nature about her, soften up and be friendly with the child.
The Doctor smiled, chin resting on the back of his chair. Perhaps this odd little family life wouldn’t be so bad after all.