"This is just silly," she said, and meant it.

It had been quite amusing the first time. They had, after all, been on Quuelyee, where the people were not known for the subtlety.

"We'll do the tourist thing," he'd said, which had seemed like a good idea at the time. It was a good idea, all cultural misunderstandings aside. The sight-seeing had been stress-free and had matched rather well with his determination to Absolutely Under No Circumstances Get A Bit Miserable About The Whole Dead Planet Thing. Romana being ginger had turned a few antennae, but this was only to be expected and it certainly hadn't caused any riots.

The problem (which hadn't even seemed all that problematic at the time) only emerged when they'd gone to find somewhere to stay and the Doctor had (entirely within reason, in his opinion) decided to meet the local snobbery with the truth.

Were they important enough to stay in this rather nice hotel? The question could have been answered with a bit of social revolution, but it felt impolite to try anything and in any case they could do that when they ran out of museums to visit and needed something to do. So instead, the truth.

"Oh, don't be silly, of course we are," said Romana, who was still somewhat rude despite being ginger these days.

Strangely, no one had believed her, which had led to the Doctor deciding that, well, sometimes you just had to throw your weight around.

"We're the last of the Time Lords," he said, as casually as possible. Important people were always casual, in his experience. It simply didn't occur to them to worry about things. (Oddly, whenever he told Humans this, they laughed in his face and came out with some variation of "Oh, that explains everything.")

This had seemed to satisfy the manager that they were, indeed, quite impressively important. She had smiled (probably, though it was rather difficult to tell) and fussed over them quite a bit before saying:

"Please enjoy your stay and your attempts to repopulate your species."

Which they had, at the time, found absolutely hilarious.

It was even more hilarious the second time, which would have been fine if the Archduke of Isegi had not then tried to have them killed for laughing in his face.

Still, the interim government of the newly founded republic had been quite pleased with the subsequent course of events, and had given them some nice rocks that Romana found geologically fascinating and which were probably worth quite a bit of money if you were the type to wonder about such things.

So if nothing else they got some shiny rocks out of the whole thing.

The third time it was less amusing but, fair enough, understandable what with the fertility festival and everything. They'd decided just to lie about it and accept all the attention because, well, why not? It was only for a few days and it wasn't too much effort not laugh when greeted with something like "Hello, nice to meet you, heard a lot about you, my family offer our prayers that your offspring will inherit the orange fur and not the slight squint in one eye."

On the fourth occasion, the Doctor left Romana to deal with the invading space armada after storming off to sulk in the TARDIS after the umpteenth demand to know if he was pregnant yet.

("Yes," he'd heard someone tell Romana as he left, "they do get quite sensitive when they're budding, don't they?")

Things were not helped by the variety of local customs and taboos that went with the assumption that people tended to make. Sometimes they offended people by not being married, sometimes by being surprised to find out that they apparently were now married simply because they were standing in the wrong place when someone asked if they had any real objection to being bonded together in the sight of that constellation over there that looked a bit like a bird if you put your hand over one eye and tilted your head slightly to the left.

There had been one incident where they had caused terrible offence first by attempting a conception on the wrong day of the year and then by explaining that, no, they were being careful not to make a baby on this particular occasion, but thanks for the concern.

The Doctor was beginning to suspect that someone was playing some sort of twisted joke on him. Yes, people quite often assumed certain things, but they were rarely so insistent and so difficult to dissuade.They were family? Oh, how wonderful when siblings get along so well! She's your mother? Ah, she punches you in the face to show affection, how charming! Each was married to someone else? Well, one mustn't judge visiting aliens and their strange adulterous ways. They had incompatible gender preferences? What a terrible complication and how brave to try to overcome that for the sake of the species.

"We are honoured that you plan to bless our world with such a momentous conception."

"Oh, piss off."

"I'm getting rather tired of this," said Romana.

The Doctor put his feet on the table and glared at the other people in the cafe. "Someone just gave me quite graphic advice on what I should be doing," he told her. "They said they'd heard quite a bit about Gallifrey and could understand why I might not be sure what goes where."

"We could just stop telling people where we're from," she suggested.

"That would just be giving in," he said. "That's just giving them what they want."

Romana sighed melodramatically and stared moodily at her glass of wine. "What they want is some mystical conception to prove how wonderful their planet is. If we just didn't tell people, they might not keep asking us to breed on demand."

"I never had this problem with Humans," he whined. "You can take one of those anywhere and at worst people tell you how well-behaved your pet is. No one ever just assumed. And I never had people offering their wombs to me. You'd think people would be queueing up to bear the last of the Time Lords, but they're not."

"I think it might be to attract tourists," she said, ignoring the oncoming sulk. "People might think it was romantic and decide to visit. Re-birth of a civilisation. It does sound rather impressive, after all."

The Doctor was not one to be distracted from a good complaint when he had one. "I saw a guide book on that last planet. It had a little map of all the places we've shagged. And a list of suggested names for the baby."

"I must say it's rather touching that people are so dedicated."

"I used to get sympathy," he said, still determined to have a bit of a sulk. "I used to get sympathy and people being impressed. Now all I get is superstitions about how to make sure we get whichever gender the locals prefer. 'Last of the Time Lords,' that got respect. Now I just get people making snide remarks about my sperm."

"Oh, do shut up," said Romana. "I already have at least three religions formed in expectation of me bearing some sort of deity. I'm sure that has absolutely nothing to do with some idiot wandering about letting people call him the Lonely God."

"Yes, well..."

"And having turned yourself into some figure of myth and tabloid, you try to apologise for blowing up our planet with some pathetic extended jaunt around the universe where by astonishing coincidence we keep running into people who want us to produce offspring." She was quite angry, from the looks of things. "Honestly, I think you just enjoy all the attention."

The Doctor had a very good answer to this, or so he would almost certainly claim. He didn't have to prove this, however, as the food arrived with a note asking if they would consider naming it after the chef's mother.

Which was the bit most people left out when explaining that you weren't supposed to mention Time Lords on that particular planet.

"Where have you been?" she asked, when he finally turned up. "I've been waiting here for at least an hour. And why are you covered in mud?"

"We have to leave," he said, taking her hand to pull her from her seat. "Quite soon."

"Is it about that volcano? Surely these people understand plate tectonics?"

"Well," he sighed, "apparently our unconceived god of a child is raging at our refusal to birth it into the universe it intends to rule over, and the locals would like a word about that. Quite a sharp word, possibly involving hot bits of metal."

"This is just silly," she said, and meant it.

"I was only speaking hypothetically."

"But that's a stupid idea," he said, emerging from under the console to give her a look that hopefully conveyed the fact that he thought her idea was stupid.

"Of course it is, but people seem rather intent on forcing the issue."

"That's because people are stupid."

"I know they are. You can't repopulate an entire species from two individuals." She frowned in a worryingly thoughtful manner. "Well, obviously it's possible, but it's not ideal."

"Yes, but..." He wasn't going to take this seriously. Obviously Romana had gone quite mad. He certainly hadn't done some thinking of his own about how, really, it wasn't that stupid if you ignored the fact that it was. "Where would we keep it?" he asked, stupidly.

Romana shrugged. "We do have a TARDIS. And there's always boarding school."

"We'd have to trail it around with us all the time just to prove we hadn't eaten it or sold it or something. It'd get in the way. What about when it was little and needed someone to hold it all the time?"

"We could take turns."

"Yeah, that'd work. I'm sure it'd never be any sort of a problem if I was trying to be impressive and mysterious and little Fred puked all down my shirt. Fat lot of good that'd do if I was going for gravitas."

Romana looked appalled. "You want to call the first of the non-last of the Time Lords 'Fred'?"

Oh dear, his ears were going red. He could tell. "No. I was just saying. It's not like I've picked names for that baby we don't plan on having."

"The one people keep asking about? The one that everyone keeps asking about despite all the laws of plausibility?"

"It might be ginger," he said. "And I'd clean up after it and teach it tricks and make sure it didn't chew on anything important."

"It's not a pet!"

"I'm very good with children! I was a wonderful father the last time. Well, I say wonderful. I wasn't awful or anything. Did I mention Fred might be ginger? Don't you want a little ginger baby all of your very own?" He was bouncing a bit, but that was just enthusiasm for... oh, something. He'd find an excuse later. The important thing was "And I promise I wouldn't leave it anywhere by accident. I'd put a little bell on it as well, to stop it wandering off."

"Well, I suppose..."

Which is all you need to know to understand why Time Lords born after Gallifrey blew up are as strange and confusing as they are.