Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing(s): Fifth Doctor/Tegan Jovanka
Manifesto by: lost_spook
Spoilers: Some general discussion of canon events in the blurb. I'll warn for spoilers on fics as appropriate.
Blurb: I'm generally more of a laid back shipper - I multi-ship, I ship random pairings, I ship contrary pairings simultaneously or don't bother to ship at all. However, let me confess that I've shipped Five/Tegan since I was a teenager (and thought a ship was just one of those things that sailed on the ocean) and don't show any signs of stopping yet. Of course, the Fifth Doctor's era is one that allows for a whole bunch of fun pairings of all flavours, but let me celebrate my own favourite for a moment here.
Doctor: "How do you feel?"
Tegan: "Groggy, sore and bad-tempered."
Doctor: "Ah, almost your old self."
It's the tale of a Time Lord and his awkward, opinionated Australian air stewardess who didn't ask to be dragged off into time and space, thanks. She had a job to get to! They share a terrible taste in clothing. (He's a man who'll wear celery with a beige cricketing outfit forever; she's a woman who keeps her purple uniform on for an entire series, and then when she finally changes, pulls out a boob tube and little black leather skirt. Totally practical for running away from giant insects, Tegan.)
Besides which, it was the 1980s. You know what it means when two people argue that much in the 1980s. She doesn't take crap easily, she'll make the Doctor account for his actions, and she refuses to be counted as anything but a fellow adult, even as he tends to treat Adric and Nyssa almost as children. She's also brave and loyal and is willing to put her life on the line for him right from the start. She seems (somewhat to his annoyance) to regard herself as responsible for him and his welfare.
As for the Doctor, he enjoys nothing better than insulting her to see her reaction (like the time he saves her life by pretending she's an android - "I got it cheap because of the accent, and the walk's not quite right..."). Really, he does everything short of pulling her pig-tail and running away. He can't quite leave his latest human alone, no matter what he says, and his underlying affection for her is more than plain, despite his snark.
The Fifth Doctor regenerates looking up at all his companions, but actually, that's not the first thing he sees: the first thing we know that he sees is as the Watcher, looking at a stubborn young woman trying to fix a puncture and lamenting the lack of white knights these days, so it seems possible that she - with her ever influential mind (alien beings are always after it; see Kinda, Snakedance, & Enlightenment) - shaped his next form. Which might explain some of his resentment, as he's ambivalent about this particular regeneration (it's a bit too young! People don't take him seriously, the way they did when he wore a long scarf and gave them jelly babies). Anyway, it's a nice fanon theory to take or leave as you wish.
The Doctor in this incarnation is more awkward than ever about feelings, and seemingly uncomfortable about Tegan, her feelings and how he reacts to them. When he wants her to stay, she doesn't want to; as soon as she decides to stay, he dumps her back at Heathrow, and looks put upon when she turns back up again. It's complicated. She's forever what he needs, rather than necessarily what he (thinks he) wants, and she leaves when she needs to, for his good as well as hers. It's a heart-breaking little moment. ("It's stopped being fun, Doctor.")
If you want to imagine they got together on the TARDIS, it's not difficult, as there's an obvious shift in their relationship between The King's Demons (right after that bit where they nearly share a bed) and The Five Doctors. Then for the next season, the Doctor spends his time taking Tegan to places she wants to go (to Turlough's annoyance). Plus, there's that otherwise completely inexplicable moment in Frontios where the Doctor decides to take Tegan with him on a TARDIS trip to dispose of a giant woodlouse. Even though this means risking stranding Turlough (and the hatstand) on Frontios forever. But, hey, why not? It's so hard for them to get any quality time together.
Basically, they're a mixed up, spiky, doomed ship; this manifesto barely every scratches the surface of their interactions, & the only way I have of rationalising this era's canon is by assuming that Tegan at least was in love with the Doctor.
Probably the two most relevant pieces of wider canon are the extra In A Fix With Sonatarans (made for Jim'll Fixit, of which the less said the better these days), in which Tegan returned for a few minutes only to help the Sixth Doctor, and some fic writers use this as a starting point, plus Big Finish's The Gathering, which is simultaneously great and awful for a Five/Tegan shipper, but if you can get hold of it, it does have some excellent moments of arguing, Tegan pwning the Doctor, and the Doctor's wonderful pettiness in his rivalry with Tegan's boyfriend over the boyfriend boasting about his car ("But does it travel in time?"). There are a few fanfic refs and fixits out there.
The fic's rarer now than it used to be (can we fix that please?) and it's often hard to find stories that really get the difficulty of them - and those that can get over it without stepping out of character. However, there are some great stories out there, and whatever else this ship may be, it's certainly never dull. And it is, to the best of my knowledge, still the only Doctor Who ship that's caused questions to be asked in Parliament...
"Brave heart, Tegan." ♥
Five/Tegan story list by ghost2 (2006)
Five/Tegan Manifesto for who_otp by zauberer_sirin (2008)
General Fifth Doctor stuff, including fic, can be found at davison_era.
Fifth Doctor/Tegan Jovanka tag on AO3
Fifth Doctor + Tegan Jovanka results page on Teaspoon
Rec #1: His
Rating/Warning(s): All ages
Word Count/WIP?: 230 words
Why This Must Be Read: The Doctor looks at Tegan differently after his regeneration. He can't quite put his finger on what it is. It's such a perfect little bit of characterisation, both sharp and sweet, in so few words.
Rec #2 Where There's Smoke
Author: Cyber Moggy
Rating/Warning(s): All ages
Word Count/WIP?: 1809 words
Why This Must Be Read: It's quiet and beautifully written, with an atmospheric alien setting that reminds both Tegan and the Doctor of home in different ways; Tegan getting to comfort the Doctor in practical ways for this moment that she's in her element and he's out of his.
Rec #3: a hole in my heart
Word Count/WIP?: 1508 words
Why This Must Be Read: Wonderful, haunting overview of Tegan and the Doctor's relationship from start to finish, getting at the heart of things in dreamlike snatches of story.
Rec #4: The Origins of a Brave Heart
Rating/Warning(s): All ages
Word Count/WIP?: 868
Why This Must Be Read: Not technically shippy as such, but it's a lovely, brief character piece of hurt/comfort, as the new Doctor and his unwilling companion take their first steps towards a relationship, with a nicely convincing line as to where the Doctor's habit of telling Tegan "Brave heart" originated.
Rec #5: There to Here
Word Count/WIP?: 7016 words
Why This Must Be Read: Another fic that covers Tegan's whole time on board the TARDIS, gorgeous and harsh, acknowledging why they don't work as well as why they do, and the way they come together in mutual brokenness. One of those fics that's so good and hurts so much at the same time.
Rec #6: L'amour Looks Just Like You
Word Count/WIP?: 6004 words
Why This Must Be Read: The Doctor lands in the wrong place and time, as usual, but makes it up to Tegan with what actually might be... a date. This is a lovely piece that's fundamentally wish-fulfillment (and why not?), but it has to be said the icing on the cake is absolutely Turlough matchmaking for the sheer pleasure of winding them up from the sidelines.
Rec #7: Seven Minutes
Rating/Warning(s): PG | Character Death, Spoilers for BFA The Gathering
Word Count/WIP?: 1839 words
Why This Must Be Read: There's sadness, but the author has a great turn of phrase, and never loses sight of the nature of the two characters, as well as providing a handy fixit for at least one aspect of The Gathering.
Rec #8: Critical Angle
Rating/Warning(s): All ages/PG | Blood, mentions of canon character death & possession
Word Count/WIP?: 940 words
Why This Must Be Read: Gorgeously and simply done, it's Tegan hurting from wounds the Doctor can't heal, because he is himself the cause of some of them. (Not overtly shippy, but the implication on Tegan's side is clear.)
Rec #9: Daytripping
Rating/Warning(s): PG | Slight spoilers for The Awakening; AU from Resurrection of the Daleks.
Word Count/WIP?: 8566 words
Why This Must Be Read: The Doctor gives Tegan some time before she leaves, and they wind up going for a walk together and reflecting on what they want from each other (and whether or not arguing is easier than kissing, or kissing is easier from arguing). Wonderfully well drawn, it's one of the most satisfying Five/Tegan fics around. (If you enjoy it, this author is always excellent and has more Five/Tegan stories, including explicit fic, which you can find via the link).
Rec #10: Understanding the Life of Birds
Author: Audra Rourk McHugh
Rating/Warning(s): PG | Character death
Word Count/WIP?: 2581 words
Why This Must Be Read: Haunting and bittersweet fic with Tegan facing her final moments as the Doctor comes to find her, now that he's a different man (Eighth Doctor) and they can finally admit their feelings. It's a beautiful piece that sticks in the mind long after reading.