Romana shook the fishing rod in her hand. It wobbled. "I don't see how one is supposed to pull a fish out of the water using this. It's not exactly sturdy."
"Fishing isn't about catching fish," said the Doctor, sitting down in a grassy patch that enjoyed the shade of a large tree. The roots wormed their way between the rocks lining the lakebed, just touching the clear water. "It's about relaxing."
"Negative, master," chirped K-9. "Fishing is indeed--"
"Oh, hush up, K-9." The Doctor turned back to Romana and repeated, "Fishing is about relaxing."
"Tug-of-war with a fish is relaxing?"
"Just sit down."
Romana set her mouth in a firm line, but obliged, perching herself on a large rock. The Doctor plunked his hat on top of K-9's head.
"Now what do I do?"
"Cast your line into the water."
Feeling rather silly about the entire thing, Romana stuck the tip of the pole into the water. The fish scattered. "That seems to repel them."
The Doctor laughed. "Your line, not the whole rod." He stuck his own between two rocks and went over to help Romana. He stood her up and stood behind her, taking her hands in his. Very gently, he swung the fishing rod up over their heads and flicked it. The line soared across the water and landed a few yards out into the lake, sending off ripples. "There, you see?"
She saw that his hands had not left hers. She smelled the sweetness of his breath and the sharpness of his aftershave. She felt her back against his chest, his head right next to hers. And she felt her hearts beating against her ribcage. "Yes, I see."
The fishing rod began to bend. "Romana, you're a natural!" His hands dropped to around her waist and hugged her.
"At what, standing 'round holding a stick?" But secretly, she was quite pleased. "What do I do now?"
"Start reeling it in!" The Doctor let go of Romana and got in closer to the shoreline. Romana clumsily began to turn the reel, pulling the line back in. The Doctor caught the line when it was close enough and proudly pulled in the catch. "Well done, Romana! You've caught..."
"Kelp?" Romana tried not to laugh at the tangled green knot the Doctor held up.
"Negative, mistress," K-9 informed them. "Kelp is strictly a saltwater--"
"Yes, thank you, K-9," said the Doctor loudly. He freed it from the hook and tossed it back in. It landed in the lake with a splash.
"What if you catch it again?"
"Oh, I don't think so. It's learned its lesson." The Doctor looked back at his abandoned fishing pole. "Care to join me in the shade?"
Romana picked up her pole and hopped to the shade. She propped the rod up against a tree and gingerly perched herself on K-9. The Doctor, meanwhile, had made himself quite comfortable. He had taken off his shoes and socks. He shrugged his coat off and, before spreading it on the ground to use as a blanket, dug a familiar white bag out of one of the pockets. "Jelly baby?" He stretched himself out in the shade.
Romana sat herself down next to the Doctor and dug out a red one. Chewing thoughtfully, she said after swallowing, "This doesn't seem very productive."
"It's not supposed to be."
"So what do we do in the meantime?"
"Chat," Romana repeated. "About?"
"Well, I was scanning one of the segments to the Key to Time--"
"Not about work!" cut in the Doctor. "That's the cardinal rule of fishing: never, ever discuss work."
"Then you think of something."
The two sat in silence a moment, save for the rustling of the jelly baby bag and sound of Romana removing her own shoes. He held the bag out to her again. She shifted closer to him and dug out another red one. The gentle breeze and soothing sounds of nature lulled her into a state of extreme relaxation. She laid down next to the Doctor and stared up through the tree.
Romana awoke sometime later to find herself snuggled up against the Doctor, arm comfortably thrown across his chest. She tilted her head up to find the Doctor still asleep. The sun was sinking past the horizon. On a whim, Romana gently shook the Doctor awake.
They didn't say anything. Just watched the sun set on the lake, the golds and reds and purples reflecting off the water, rippling in the breeze. It slipped into the lake, leaving behind a dark, starry sky. Romana had never seen anything quite so beautiful. She looked up at the Doctor and told him so.
The Doctor smiled. "And that's why I like Earth most of all."
K-9 lit the way back to the TARDIS.
"Now that's what I call a good day of fishing," said the Doctor, unlocking the door to the TARDIS. "But a bad day of fishing beats a good day anywhere else. That's what I always say."
"But we didn't catch anything!"
"Yes, but did you have a good time?"
"I did, actually, yes."
"Then it was a good day of fishing."
"Where are we going now?"
"To find the next segment to the Key to Time."
"Oh, are we?" asked Romana, an eyebrow raised. "What happened to your fifty-year vacation?"
"Where's your sense of responsibility, Romana? We were given a task!"
"My sense...?" Romana began, but dropped it. She had learned it was best to humor him. "You're right, Doctor. I don't know where my head was at."
"That's alright, Romana. We all make mistakes."
"Oh, shut up, K-9!"
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