She didn't mean to keep picking up humans. Really, they were so provincial, so little and close-minded and boring.
Then she started picking up human girls.
* * * * * * * *
"There's no hot water in the shower again!"
There was a tall, wet brunette standing in the console room, with only a tiny little towel precariously wrapped around her body.
"Tegan," she explained patiently, "I told you that the hot water heater just doesn't function while I'm running my Electro-Static Magnetic Recharger. Can't you wait for it to finish its testing cycle?"
"It's been three days," Tegan pouted, "and maybe you don't need to shower, being an alien, but I stink after that ghastly mess we got ourselves into yesterday."
"That's true, you do smell rather unpleasant," Romana replied thoughtfully.
Tegan turned around and huffed away, muttering things that sounded like "of all the nerve" and "bloody little better than dating a bloke."
Romana sighed. They were so fragile, these humans; they never liked to hear the truth. Well, she'd better follow after Tegan, if she got in a proper mood she'd start demanding to be taken back to Heathrow again, and she'd miss out on that clever thing Tegan could do with her tongue, not to mention the air hostess dress-up games…
* * * * * * * *
She never went looking for trouble, but it always seemed to find her.
Like the very drunk bleached blonde lying in her lap, trying to explain why she wasn't gay, just bisexual, and rather attracted to Romana's blonde hair.
"We look so much alike!" Rose squealed, while her fingers found their way into some very inappropriate places.
Romana didn't find this to be quite as appealing as Rose did, and especially not as appealing as the boys crowding around them in this 21st century pub did.
"You need some air," she told Rose, and hoisted her to her feet. The boys booed loudly, but Romana just kept her head high, and manoeuvred Rose out of the bar.
Rose didn't sober up much by being outside, but it turned out for the best as while Romana was preoccupied with trying to get her hat repinned over the mess Rose had made of her hair, Rose fell over and kicked an invading Thuallaxth king right in its one weak point, instantly killing it and saving the Earth from a rather messy fate.
(Lying together in bed afterwards, Romana would refuse to join in Rose's glee that the weak point had in fact been the Thuallaxth's groin, believing that the implications were simply too crude and unbecoming to be acknowledged, and it wasn't like it was the Thuallaxth's males' fault that they kept their brain there).
When Rose finally left, much, much later, to settle down with a lovely gender neutral being on Thuallaxth (the society was greatly improved when they visited it five hundred years after the attempted invasion), Romana was more bereft than she thought she would have been, but she consoled herself with the thought that at least she could stop having to fend off advances from Rose's former boyfriend for a threesome.
* * * * * * * *
"So, what do you do in here?" Ace asked, astonished, staring in awe around the console room.
"Oh, this and that, you know, travelling about, saving people and doing some sight-seeing," Romana said, waving her hand dismissively. "It's not like this is what I'd meant to do with my life. No, I'd been a good Gallifreyan, going to the right university, excelling in my studies — a Triple First, no less! - and then one day I was assigned to this man and he got me mixed up in all sorts of trouble, and the next thing you know, it's become a way of life and I end up staying in E-Space with the silly robot dog he built me!"
Ace nodded sympathetically, all the while backing away carefully towards the door.
"Eventually it got quite boring, so I escaped, and I managed to build my own TARDIS — I'm very clever, you know — but if I'd gone home I'd have had to serve as President or something equally horrible, and anyway it turned out I couldn't go home because that man had blown up Gallifrey." At this she closed the TARDIS doors with a wave of her hand, making Ace jump and move closer to the console.
"This isn't even the face I started out with," she moaned, caught up in a moment of self-pity. "I had dark hair before, and I think my skin was nicer, though truth be told I can't quite remember now."
Ace smiled. "I dyed my hair red once. It was brilliant."
Romana laughed. "I'm sure it looked perfectly awful, but that's youth today for you."
Ace frowned. "You don't look that old, Professor."
Romana shook her head. "I told you not to call me that, Ace. Do I need to teach you a lesson? Ooh, I still have a schoolgirl outfit you could wear. It would look smashing on you."
* * * * * * * *
"Goodness, it's a TARDIS!"
Romana wrinkled her nose. "Oh, so you've met the Doctor? Just my luck. Well, you'll have to go. This isn't the same sort of TARDIS, and frankly he's not high on my list of favourite people and I'd rather not have to think about him all the time."
Jo shook her head frantically. "No, wait!" she pleaded. "I was just so surprised — the Doctor's TARDIS looked like a police box on the outside."
"I wonder if he ever fixed that chameleon circuit," Romana sniffed. "You won't find that sort of idiotic problem on my ship."
"I just didn't expect a TARDIS shaped like an Electro-Static Magnetic Recharger," Jo said. "It's very unique," she continued, smiling sincerely.
Romana turned a bit pink. "Well, it's a bit psychic, my TARDIS — and I was thinking about the machine. Haven't been able to offer showers in a week because of it. Hang on," she interrupted herself, startled, "how do you know about Electro-Static Magnetic Rechargers?"
"I did work for UNIT," Jo said.
"Oh? So what have you been up to?" Romana asked, curiously.
"Well, I left the Doctor to marry a man and explore the Amazon with him, but that was a bit of a daft idea, to tell the truth. I was hoping to get back to my original time and place, actually."
When Romana dropped Jo back home the next morning, neither of them had much of anything to say about the previous night, other than emphatically agreeing that the other had definitely been better than the Doctor.
* * * * * * * *
"For Omega's sake, look at me!"
"I'm not saying a word."
"This is his fault, is it? I knew he couldn't handle a woman like me."
"Honestly, do you expect me to tear apart all of our rules about time just to tell you whether or not that bastard is the reason we have blonde hair now?"
"It's rather cute, actually."
"Well, it is very easy to pin up for hats, at least. Very manageable."
"I can see that."
"Are you petting my hair?"
"No, I’m petting my hair."
"This is getting a bit confusing."
"Shut up for a moment."
Honestly, her previous self had been so pushy.
* * * * * * * *
She ran into him again in 1973. He was coming out the front door of a pub in Manchester, trailed by a whiny boy, while she was slipping out the back door, having just been shown a lovely time by the bar girl who had a police uniform and a nurse's uniform. It was dumb luck that their TARDISes were parked next to each other.
He stared at her. "I…I thought you were dead! I blew up Gallifrey!" he stuttered.
She stood up straight and brushed her hair back over her shoulder. "I was in E-Space, remember? Which you never visited to help me get back to N-Space? Anyway, don't expect me to have to explain all the physics to you. How very tedious."
"Oh," he said, scratching his head. He had a very bad haircut, Romana thought. Hardly any hair at all. "Where's K-9, then?" he asked.
"I took him apart to build my TARDIS. He had some very useful parts."
"You killed the dog?" he exclaimed, blanching.
"Oh, you never liked him, and it was for a good cause," she said, shrugging her shoulders. "Besides, you killed all of our people."
"That's true," he said. "So, um, do you want to go travelling with me again?"
"In that old thing? And with this whiny one here?" she said, disdainfully.
"Hey!" the whiny boy piped up. "I'm standing right here!"
"Shut up," they both echoed.
He did, grumping and rubbing his forehead.
"I can't get anyone good to travel with me anymore," the Doctor whined. "The human girls all laugh at me and call me a sexual predator."
Romana coughed, lightly. "Well, maybe there's a reason for that. You should go off and think about it. I recommend E-Space. It's lovely at this time of year."
"E-Space doesn't have proper times of year," the Doctor complained, but Romana was already pushing him and his companion into the police box.
"That was a close call," she muttered. "Can't have him trailing around like a puppy dog, ruining all of my fun."
"I heard that!" the Doctor bellowed, followed by a string of Gallifreyan expletives, as his TARDIS dematerialized.
"Really!" Romana exclaimed. "There's no call to be crude."
"I'm bloody crude," the bar girl said, having stumbled out back to investigate the shouting. "I'm so crude I'm wearing a coarset", she continued, drawing out the 'a'.
"Was that supposed to be a bad pun?" Romana asked, wrinkling her nose.
"I'm drunk," Annie offered.
"Fair enough," Romana said, shrugging, as she followed Annie around the corner. The girl had promised handcuffs.
* * * * * * * *
"It's a charmed life I'm living," Romana commented, reclining contentedly on the bed.
"I'm wearing a sparkly catsuit!" Zoe said, giggling. "See how shiny it makes my bum look!"
"A charmed, charmed life indeed," Romana said, fixing her hat more firmly on her head before diving in.