In which there are plots, a PLOT hole and the Doctor's relationship
with Tegan has stalled before it started. (I said I had the feeling
there would be more - and here it is).
A sequel to Banned Valentines, (in which the Doctor and Tegan admitted
their true feelings but none of the Round's inhabitants were about to
give them a moment's peace. They still haven't found one).
"Nyssa." The Doctor greeted her edgily.
In contrast, she surveyed him with her usual serenity. "Doctor, I
really think you should talk to Tegan."
Nyssa ignored his disbelieving reaction. "You've upset her. I can't
work like this - it's far too distracting. The only way I can have
some peace is to waste my creativity on her."
"You're _killing_ her?"
"She cries," she explained. "Snuffling quietly at night, as if she
thinks I can't hear her. What else can I do?"
He looked to the ceiling and then back at his companion. "Well, I
suppose that explains why she's hardly here any more. Nyssa, we have
talked about this -."
"So," she continued, "you had better speak to her and make it all up
and then I won't lose any more sleep. Aren't you always telling me I
should talk about my problems?"
Five minutes the Doctor was still staring at the empty doorway, at
first in shock and then trying to recall how long it had been since
he'd had such a civilised conversation with Nyssa. Even if she had
confessed to killing Tegan the last few nights. He turned away then
and frowned. Well, it wasn't as if there was anything he could do
about it, was there? Nyssa rarely paid attention to him, except to
use his words to expand her criminal activities.
All the same...
Maybe he should try to find Tegan? But after everything else...
"No," he said aloud, and disappeared under the console, determined to
concentrate on repairs and do as everyone had advised him in the first
place. The Round and its environs was no place for romance.
"Want a shoulder to cry on?" offered Turlough.
Tegan turned with a glare.
"Ow! What was that for?" Turlough held his bleeding nose. "Tegan!"
She narrowed her eyes. "Don't think I don't know that this is all
"I really don't know how you could think that of me," he protested in
an injured tone. "Look, you tried to get together with the Doctor and
it all went wrong. So what's new in here?" His voice rose. "How can
that be MY fault?"
Tegan sat back down at the table gloomily. "It just is. Don't ask
me how you did it, or what you told him, but I know it was you!"
"Look," Turlough put in softly, "I'm just trying to give you a bit of
sympathy. You know what he's like - he was probably just trying to be
kind the other night. Let me buy you a drink."
She sighed. "Fine."
When Turlough got back, she had gone. He put the glass down and
looked around hopefully, but she was nowhere in sight.
Nameless. Sometimes it felt like a ghost town.
Why here? asked Tegan. Why not somewhere fun? Get chased by
monsters over rocks and down corridors Inside and get bored out of her
mind Outside. Oh, and asked out and dumped within twenty-four hours.
By the Doctor.
She kicked at the wall along by the pavement and only hurt her toe in
the unsuitable heeled shoes. "Rabbits!" she growled under her breath
and then gave up and sat there, since no one had even bothered to let
her have a proper swearword to use.
"Miss Jovanka," said a familiar voice, as the Master appeared from
the other side of the wall and leant on it, looking down at her. "You
don't look very happy."
She scrabbled to her feet hastily, fuming at being caught in this
state by the Master, who knew unfortunately knew why she was so
upset. As if life weren't humiliating enough.
"Oh, come now," he purred. "Anyone would think you were scared of
She marched on towards Nameless.
"Would it help if I told you that I know exactly what turned the
Doctor against you?"
Tegan knew that she should ignore him; she even thought about it for
five seconds. Then she swung round, arms folded. "How could you know
"Ah," said the Master. "Now, that's my little secret."
She caught herself. "What am I doing? As if you're going to tell me
"Why didn't you ask the Doctor?" he asked, although it was edging
towards a taunt.
She only said, "Have you tried talking to him when he's fiddling
about under the console? I might as well talk to the wall."
The Master laughed. "You know, if I ever took to travelling with
companions, I'd certainly ask you -."
"Spare me! Just tell me what Turlough did this time!"
He smiled widely.
The Doctor marched into the Round unwillingly. Nyssa's words would
keep coming back to him and he was fair-minded enough to admit that he
hadn't actually given Tegan a chance to explain. But he'd rather have
fixed the weak link in the fault locator.
He saw Turlough and sat down beside him, noting the full glass in
front of him. "Where is she?"
"Well, how do I know?" he returned, still nursing a damaged nose.
The Doctor began, ever so slightly, to cheer up. "Turlough, why did
she hit you?"
"What?" said Tegan. "That can't be true! And he believed it?"
The Master said, "Would I lie?"
She just looked at him.
"Admittedly, yes," backtracked the villainous Time Lord, "but in this
particular instance, no!"
Tegan gave up and walked away from him.
"Doctor," said Peri, coming to sit beside him.
He gave her a nervous look, mostly because Six usually started
hovering possessively if Peri tried to talk to him and he wasn't in
the mood for meeting his next self tonight. Well, he never was, but
even less so this evening.
"Look, I know it's none of my business," Peri began, "but Tegan was
in here just now and -."
He pulled away immediately. "Why does everyone think I want to talk
"No," laughed Peri. "I'm not giving you advice on romance - although
if you ever want it -."
He said hastily, "No, no, no..."
She said, "Look, it's up to you two what you do, but the Master
followed Tegan out of here about half an hour ago. I thought you'd
want to know."
This, decided the Doctor, is why they all say we don't do Romance;
this is why we had the rule. Even here in the Round, he had to get up
and race out to the door, play the hero and run to save his endangered
Except that he stopped outside, reflecting that he was trying to
avoid Tegan and if possible never speak to her again, which would be
difficult if he went rushing off to the rescue.
Besides, the Master probably wanted her advice on a cricketing
match. Or - well - something! No need to assume the worst...
"Oh...," said the Doctor aloud, realising no one had let him have any
swear words at all. "Rabbits," he said, under his breath with a
He popped his head back into the Round. "Which way did they go?"
"Well?" demanded the Doctor, catching up with the Master in the
deserted and darkened main street of Nameless. "Where is she?"
He smiled at him. "I knew you'd have to come!"
"This doesn't mean anything," he told him. "I hope I'd come to the
rescue of anyone caught up in one of your plans."
The Master yawned and waited.
"Anyway," added the Doctor sheepishly, "what have you done with her?"
He tried to look innocent. "Do you suppose I would do anything to
"Well, she's not here, clearly," he pointed out. "So presumably you
at least saw which way she went?"
He folded his arms. "Very astute of you, Doctor. If, of course, you
can trust my directions."
This was getting silly. (Wasn't it always?) "All right. Just tell
"That way," gestured the Master. "Straight through a PLOT hole... I
don't know what someone's been writing around here lately, but it
looked unusually large to me."
The Doctor gave him a weary look. "I knew you'd done something."
"Now, how is that my fault?" he asked.
The Doctor deliberated before walking over. He could send one of his
other selves. He might not enjoy their company in the Round, but any
one of them would be just as effective in extricating Tegan - and he
could continue to keep well out of her way.
On the other hand, PLOT holes were notoriously unstable. Well, some
of them. This one might be. Even given the circumstances, it was a
risk. If they were missing Tegan when they went back Inside there'd
be trouble. It was never any good trying to stick a wig on Adric and
expecting to get away with it.
So of course, he had to go.
He took the excuse of getting his bearings not to reply, glancing
around him curiously. Unlike most of the destinations available from
the Round, this one seemed oddly ... civilised. A restaurant of some
kind, probably quite exclusive. And expensive.
"Isn't it perfect?" asked Tegan. "I don't where we've got to, but
it's exactly what we wanted!"
The Doctor agreed silently, but looked down at the ground and then
back at her. He had a pained expression on his face at the unDoctor-
like words coming from his mouth. "Except that I'm ... not talking to
"I've noticed," she returned, at her driest.
He coughed awkwardly. "Let's get back to the Round."
"What if I don't want to?" she began.
"Excuse me, sir."
The Doctor turned to find an impeccably dressed waiter at his elbow.
"Sir, this is a highly respectable and exclusive establishment. I
think you and your ... friend should leave now!"
Tegan rolled her eyes. "My stupid outfits!"
"We were just about to," said the Doctor, but a doorman joined the
waiter and they were both firmly ushered to the outer door and away
from the PLOT hole.
They were pushed out of the restaurant and straight into an elegant
"Where are we now?" asked Tegan. "This doesn't even look like the
same time period! And shouldn't we have come out onto the street?"
"I wonder," mused the Doctor, intrigued. "You know, I think I have
an idea where we might be!"
Tegan smiled at him. "So are you angry enough to keep your theory to
The Doctor looked for a moment as if he was about to sulk.
"I suppose," she said for him, "you can't help it if I happen to be
here while you talk to yourself."
He shook himself. "This is ridiculous, isn't it?"
"No more than anything else."
He couldn't argue with that. "Well, I don't know if it's true but I
think we may have wandered into a region of fictional unreality."
"Weren't we already in one of those?"
He shook his head. "No, we were Outside of Reality in the Round,
whereas this -."
"Bad writing?" guessed Tegan, not liking the thought.
She looked around her nervously. "Not more fan fiction?"
"No, not at all," said the Doctor. "No, more along the lines of
those novels that are sequels to famous stories. They may be
perfectly good fiction but the reader is aware of the difference in
style, that this may not be what the original Author intended. Even
while immersed in the story, there's a nagging sense of unreality."
Tegan took this in. "So we're probably standing in some sequel to a
"I believe we may be. Of course, there's not much to confirm it
She closed her eyes. "Then I'm going to get thrown out here as
well. If this is someone finishing off Jane Austen or Charlotte
Bronte, they'll jump to the same conclusion as that waiter when they
see me in this."
Tegan grimaced. "And it's so unfair, when you're not exactly
inconspicuous in that outfit, either."
"I think I know where the restaurant was," he continued, determined
to have no sympathy for her plight. "'The Yellow Iris'!"
She frowned, trying to follow him. "This has something to do with
"Good grief, no," said the Doctor, paling at the thought. "I
sincerely hope not! No, Tegan. A Poirot short story by Agatha
Christie, which she later wrote into a full-length novel - without her
famous detective. So where does that leave the original story? It's
still in existence, but no longer the 'real' version. I'd imagine
it's at the heart of this little area."
Tegan responded with her usual practical emphasis. "That's all very
interesting, but we've got to get into that restaurant if we want to
get back through the PLOT hole and at the moment, they won't let me
through the doors."
"You have to admit, it is fascinating, though."
She said, "You'll be stuck with me if you don't do something."
"I have an idea!" said the Doctor swiftly.
"This isn't going to work," hissed Tegan, as they paused in the
doorway, ready to try again. She had stolen a regency dress from an
empty room. "We're trying to get into a posh restaurant in the 1930s
with you in an outdated cricketing outfit and me auditioning for Pride
The Doctor saw her point. "Well, nobody's perfect, Tegan!"
The waiter at Les Jardin des Cygnes stared at them for a long, long
moment. "Sir, we are rather busy this evening. As you can see, we
have a group booked -."
"Please," put in Tegan. "We were supposed to be at a fancy dress
party, but it was cancelled at the last minute and we need somewhere
The Doctor gave one of disarming smiles. "Just a table for two, in
the corner, out of everyone's way, that's all we're asking!"
"And," added Tegan, "you don't want to offend the Doctor. He's a
very important scientist!"
The waiter said, "One moment."
"Why doesn't he remember that he's thrown us out before?" she
whispered, trying to straighten her borrowed dress.
He leant his head nearer her. "If I'm right, he's stuck in a short
story. They may have returned to the beginning of the evening here."
The waiter returned and said politely, "There is just one table free
over here - as you say - in the corner." He held out a hand, guiding
The Doctor was about to turn to exit via the PLOT hole, but Tegan
grabbed his arm and said, "No. We've finally got the chance to talk
and, believe me, we need to."
"It's only going to be painful for both of us -."
Tegan had had enough. "It's going to be far more painful for you if
They both sat down at the table, hidden from the rest of the room in
an alcove. The Doctor suddenly displayed an intense interest in the
cutlery and table decorations and Tegan found it hard to find
something to say for once.
"I suppose we should get this over with," the Doctor said eventually,
coming to the rescue.
Tegan swallowed. What if the Master's story was a lie - as it was
only too likely to be? What if this was all because the Doctor had
realised he was making a terrible mistake, or, as Turlough had
suggested, was only trying to be nice in some obscure way of his own?
"Well, the Master told me that he and Turlough -."
"I thought," interrupted the Doctor, "that this was supposed to be
about us. Or your behaviour, I should say."
She coloured, but kept her temper. "It is! And _my_ behaviour?
Turlough comes along and tells you something about me and that's it?
I didn't do anything at all. When have I ever not stood up for you or
believed that you'd do something cruel or unjust? That should tell
you the way I feel about you. And if there's something wrong, I just
tell you, right to your face!"
"Tegan," said the Doctor softly, although he had the grace to the
look embarrassed. "You were there. It was what _you_ said that
morning. Turlough did try to warn me, I admit, but -."
She stared at the polished table. "Not me. Turlough had the Master
there, using his influence on Kamelion, except -." The final piece of
the puzzle fell into place. "It didn't need that, did it? It was
you, your thoughts - you panicked and gave yourself the perfect excuse
to run away from this!"
"I never panic," said the Doctor.
She faced him. "Well, I'd never say anything like that to you."
They looked at each other for a long, long moment.
"Which of you ordered the fish?" asked the waiter, presenting their
meal with a flourish.
"This murder mystery you think is happening here," said Tegan, making
conversation as they started their meal. "It's not down to poison, is
The Doctor looked up and grinned. "Cyanide!"
"Are we safe?"
He nodded. "Only one person dies, Tegan. I think you've had enough
of that lately."
"Yes. I'm sorry - I had no idea."
"Well," she said, "it breaks up the misery of you ignoring me for no
reason I can work out."
He took the plunge. "I'm sorry for that as well. I should have
"You believe me, then?" Tegan was smiling widely for the first time
"Of course," he said defensively, as if he had been the one
suggesting she was right all along.
She laughed. "Then let's talk about something else and enjoy this
before someone dies horribly!"
"I suppose it is a little macabre -."
She glanced around them. "It's better than the Round! Although, I
feel stupid in this dress." She tugged at it again. "It's not a
"No, it's not really you, is it?" he agreed. "Tegan -."
She had to blink back tears. "Don't. Please don't come out with
some other reason why we shouldn't do this. Unless you _really_ don't
"I wasn't going to," he told her, laughing at her, as he had the
chance to surprise her at last. "Really, Tegan. Do you think I'm all
that scared of you?"
Tegan had to smile, but she said darkly, "No, I'm just still finding
all this hard to believe. And everything keeps conspiring against
"There's something else, though," realised the Doctor, her words
reminding him. He gave her a puzzled look. "What was the Master
trying to do?"
"What do you mean?"
He looked pleased to be back in control of the situation. "Well,
considering he was trying to cause trouble between us, he was
"Yes. He told me about Turlough's plan -."
"-And sent us to the one place where we could finally have dinner in
peace," finished the Doctor. Behind him, a man fell face down onto
the table and there were startled cries and the sounds of weeping and
general panic. "Well, relative peace, that is."
They looked at each other for a long moment.
"But that's just -."
"- Ridiculous," he agreed. He jumped to his feet and held out his
hand to her. "Time to go!" They took advantage of the commotion to
run through the PLOT hole before there were any disagreements about
"Turlough," said the Doctor. "I need a word!"
He could see that he had been found out. "Oh. Look, it wasn't my
fault. And she hit me!"
"Serves you right!"
"Listen, I only brought Kamelion in when the Master asked and you did
He tried again. "The Black Guardian made me?"
The Doctor gave him a disappointed look.
"Well," he admitted, "it's going to be dull for me now, isn't it?"
He said, "I'm sure you'll get over it. Turlough, Nyssa is being more
helpful than you are!"
He left and Turlough played with his empty glass dejectedly for a
moment, before shrugging and looking around the room carefully for
some new distraction. This being the Round, someone would soon
"Look," Tegan said, keeping a watchful eye out for the Doctor who
probably wouldn't approve, even now, "Nyssa, I think you owe me a
She frowned. "Do I?"
"Well," she added, "all the trouble I've been causing you lately.
You do know that it was Turlough who started it off, don't you?"
Nyssa followed her gaze to where Turlough was sitting, talking
defensively to the Doctor. "I have been getting a little bored
lately," she said thoughtfully.
"Well, that seems to be sorted now," decided the Doctor cheerfully on
She put her arm through his. "Yes," she agreed, able to see Nyssa
watching Turlough from the bar. "It does. Let's go!"
Behind them, events took an all-too-familiar chaotic turn...