"Are you nearly done yet?" asked the Doctor, hopeful despite the rules of biology.

Romana shook her head. "I've been thinking."

"Should you be doing that in your condition?"

She glared at him. "Why don't you gestate it?" For indeed, Romana was gestating the Last of the Time Lords, which was the child of the two previous Last of the Time Lords, each of whom had been quite glad but slightly disappointed to discover themselves not, in fact, the only Last of the Time Lords.

The Doctor thought about this for a moment or two. "I could take it for a month or so, I suppose."

"I have a better idea," said Romana, who had a better idea. "Why don't we just... grow it in a vat?"

"That's what I said we should do! I said 'Let's just grow it in a vat' but you had to get all maternal and weird." The Doctor was quite put out by this, for he had indeed suggested the vat concept some time previously.

"Hormones," she said, waving a hand both literally and metaphorically. "I think the vat idea has legs."

"Let's do that then."

So they did.




"Is it done yet?" asked the Doctor.

"No," sighed Romana.

"Bloody hell, I'm sure children didn't use to take this long to make."

"It only took about three minutes to make it."

The Doctor blushed. "Yes. Well. Let's not talk about that."

They stared at the vat in which the Last of the Time Lords was gestating with annoying slowness. Like a watched kettle, the foetus was refusing to boil.

"You know..." said Romana, "I'm not saying we should, but hypothetically we could... leave it somewhere for a while and then come back for it later when it was ready."

"And just sort of... nip forward a bit in our time machine so we didn't have to wait so long?"

"Yes," she said.

"That would be a horribly irresponsible thing to do," said the Doctor.

So they did.



Half an hour later, they returned to New Earth (nasty cats, but wonderful gestation unit) for their baby.

"Is this one ours?" ask the Doctor, inspecting a blue child with three eyes. "It's got your nose." He sniffed the baby. "No, not ours."

"It's this one," said Romana, holding up a quite average-looking baby.

"Oh," said the Doctor, not quite managing to hide his disappointment. "It's very... small."

"Yes, not as nice as I imagined it would be. I suppose it might grow up more interesting?"

"When it starts talking and things like that. Not more than... ages until that happens."

They returned to the TARDIS with the baby and sat looking at it for a while.

"What sort is it?" asked Romana, suddenly realising that they hadn't thought to check.

The Doctor picked it up and had a look. "A girl."

"That's nice."

"Yes." The Doctor looked a bit underwhelmed. "Shall we name it?"

"Oh, that would be something to do, yes. Fred?"

"Good name." He bit one of his own fingernails for something to do. "I thought we could have argued about that or something."

Romana picked up Fred and tried to feel parental. "We could..."

"Take her to a nursery centre and leave her there until she can do something interesting?"

"That would be a terrible thing to do."

So they did.



Fred was not sufficiently interesting at the age of two, and so she was left again until she was five, when her parents returned to collect her.

Things went quite well until it became obvious that children and time machines did not mix very well.

"So," said her father, cheerfully, "we think you should start boarding school. We had to lie and say you were a boy, so try not to do anything too obviously feminine, alright?" He patted her head as he handed her a suitcase. "We'll see you in a few years. Once you're a bit older and can have conversations with us."

So they did.



When Fred was eleven, the time came to change schools, and her mother was mysteriously ginger. Fred was not certain, but she was fairly sure that this was not normal.

After a stern lecture about the importance of being the Last of the Time Lords and how incredibly important family was, Fred found herself dropped off at her new school with an instruction to try and grow up interesting.

"We'll see you when you've done your A-levels," said her mother, looking slightly relieved as she waved her off.

So they did.



There was a lesson in all of this, but no one was quite sure what it was.