Disclaimer: You know something? I know that you know that I know that you know that I don't own these Disney characters, so I'm not even going to confuse you with a disclaimer.

Author's Note: This is my first real attempt at anything fluffy between the Captain and the Doctor, and therefore this story is relatively short, compared to some of my other stories. I hope it isn't too silly and that the characters don't seem forced. These two are such opposites, so I actually had quite a time writing this story, but that also made this one of the more challenging stories I've written. I hope you enjoy it, and please review! I really appreciate constructive criticisms!

The Doctor And The Captain

The hospital room that housed, at the moment, the swiftly recovering Captain Amelia, had been quiet for the most part, with longer or shorter periods of conversation depending on the topic, for a time that had run together into the period of half-an-hour. Doctor Delbert Doppler was in the room, making one of his many random, but very welcome, visits to the Captain, to check the recovery of what used to be a delirious patient of his. Doppler had talked with her this visit as he had every other visit; the only difference had been his unprecedented length of company, toward which Amelia had not yet shown any sign of disapproval. But since it had been half-an-hour, Doppler began to consider her position, and decided with some reluctance that it might be time to make his departure.

As he stood from the chair at the right of the hospital bed in which Amelia rested, however, she addressed him unexpectedly:


"Y-yes?" Doppler stopped abruptly

"You... you're leaving," the Captain said. It sounded like a statement, but Doppler regarded her for a small moment, and realized it was more so a question.

"I..." he began, trailing off. For a tenth of a second he was distracted by the glinting emerald eyes that could soften him as well as they could mock him. Then, noting his mouth was slightly open, he swallowed and said, "...I thought that you would like some time by yourself..."

Amelia shifted her gaze and then met him square in the eye again. "...Ah. Very well, Doctor." Her sentence ended with a silent snap, making Doppler think she had intended to say more, but at the last minute had decided against it. Tentatively, he shifted his weight. "I... could stay, if you—"

"No, no," Amelia broke in. "If you would like to go..."

"If you would like me to stay..."

There was dead lull. Both looked at each other as if expecting the other to make the decision: to go, to be sent away, to stay, or to be gestured back to the seat beside the bed. Doppler found himself once again somewhat distracted by the shimmering pools of Amelia's green eyes, and suddenly felt the urge to break her gaze and clean his glasses, but at the same moment couldn't look away. Instead, he cleared his throat, which shattered the silence and seemed to knock them both into reality again. Simultaneously, Amelia consented that Doppler could stay and Doppler suggested that he would go.

"Oh—" Doppler made the sound of something between an awkward laugh and a croak. Amelia chuckled and massaged her eyes. "I'm sorry, Doctor... which will it be?"

"...I believe...I'll stay."

His unexpected decision seemed to surprise Amelia a little. She watched him quietly as he sat in the chair next to her hospital bed again.

"You're very decisive all of a sudden, Doctor."


"I'm sorry?"

"You can..." and Doppler trailed off again, realizing that not only was he was giving her permission to address him informally, with his first name, but also that he had initially proposed the idea by correcting her with it. A bright scarlet scorched his cheeks for a moment. Very well played, he told himself. What will she think of you now? You're getting much too bold—impudent—around her; I think you'd better be quiet.

But another part of him argued that since he'd already begun, he might as well finish, and avoid looking even more foolish by failing to continue his sentence. This, he deduced, was reasonable, and so with a breath, he finished his thought.

"You can... call me Delbert."

Amelia raised both her eyebrows. He could not read whether she was impressed or scandalized by what he'd said, but he found more than enough courage to sit there and still look at her, which was enough of a marvel to impress him, at least.


To his surprise, she said his name musingly, with a tone of respect for the untried word. He watched her think for an instant about it, sampling the aftertaste of the name, and then heard her laugh once. "You're a bold fellow, Doctor Doppler."

The absence of his first name, which had seemingly been so happily tried just a moment ago, was not very reassuring for Doppler.

"...Am I?"

"I should say so."

"W-why... Why should you say so?"

Amelia looked at him as if she thought he should already know the reason. He stared at her with what he hoped was placidity, but on the inside, he was panicky. There was a little taunting voice in the back of his mind that kept chanting, "I don't like saying I told you so, but I told you so!" In all honesty, he was pretty sure he knew the reason why he was a bold fellow, but to hear her say it specifically would confirm for him that he shouldn't have remained at all, that he would never again suggest that she call him Delbert, and that their relationship would never, ever evolve into anything beyond friends.

Amelia was smiling. "You've proposed this without so much as a word, or even some gesture of forewarning. If you keep up this ability to go unread and surprise me like that, I can assure you, we won't get along too well." Her voice hinted at an impressed tone.

Doppler, encouraged by her smile, edged a cautious grin upon his own lips. "Well, if that's the case, then I can assure you we'll get along just fine... I'm prone to being very obvious in my intentions."

"Are you?" She leaned over the metal bar of the hospital bed a bit to catch his eyes in a very tight lock, and asked slowly, "And just what sort of intentions are you prone to?"

Doppler laughed stiffly. He decided his face was too close to Amelia's to be polite, and made to lean back in the chair to put more distance between them. This, however, he found he could not do; he was already tethered again to her beautiful eyes. "...I...uh... Intentions?... In...Intentions I will admit to having, but what sort of intentions are..."

Classified? Esoteric? Ambiguous? Indecorous? No...



"Punctilious. That's all right, isn't it?"

Amelia narrowed her eyes, seemingly slightly disconcerted, and straightened entirely before folding her arms. "Indisputably."

A reigning silence ensued for a dragging while. Doppler sat, his hands wringing in his lap, contemplating what he'd just said. Had he just told her she ought to call him Delbert? Had she just asked him what sort of intentions he was prone to have, and had he just answered that they tended to be punctilious? Never had he felt so inept and embarrassed; this, he decided with decisiveness, was truly the worst day he'd ever had in his entire life.

But!--on the other hand, he was sitting in front of the most beautiful creature he had ever beheld, and she had only minutes ago leaned suggestively over her bedside railing a little to look closely at him. Surely, then, it was not his absolute worst day.

With this thought, he began to study her. Optimistically, he considered, she must have found him as compelling as he so consistently found her, otherwise she would not have leaned toward him in such a manner. Then, pessimistically, he threw that thought its length upon the floor, certain now that that was not the case at all. She had simply been teasing him-- mocking him, as she so commonly did.

Now somewhat nettled, he cleared his throat, which she must have been unprepared for, since he saw one of her ears flap quickly at the noise, as if in a sudden, but severely controlled, action of surprise. He then watched her eyes slide carelessly in his general direction, as if she knew perfectly well that he cleared his throat often before he spoke, and therefore was expecting him to say something.

His mind spun quickly, thinking hurriedly of what he might tell this woman. He could tell her the weather was nice. No, that would not be an impressive topic. He could discuss the ongoing motifs of the novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, or the interchangeable reasoning of the philosophy of Transcendentalism. He pushed these out of his head, thinking that perhaps he would tip a conversation toward emotions and romantic, abstract concepts, and less toward academics. He could rattle out the percentage of people who had gotten married last month on Montressor, for he thought he could remember reading about it somewhere. Then he frightened himself, wondering where the thought of marriage had come from, and immediately diverted his attention back to the weather.

Her gaze had remained trained at his direction, but she suddenly seemed unattainable; like her mind had drifted towards other things, and she only appeared to be still present. He was boring her, he decided heavily, and, severely bemused and discouraged, rubbed his chin.

"What are you thinking about?" he blurted, startling himself with the sound of his own voice.

She looked at him again, squarely. It conjured a stinging swell of an emotion in Doppler that he was unused to, and he coughed gently at the feeling. Amelia smiled subtly. "I was thinking about your name."

"I'm—what?" he choked. He must have been surprised, but the feeling that Amelia had summoned within him was dulling any other emotion.

She actually laughed. It was a quiet, almost gentle laugh; not a chuckle that could easily mean more derision than genuine amusement. Short-lived as it was, it raised Doppler's confidence to such a great height that his head felt as though it hovered twenty feet above his body. He swallowed.

"Your name, Doctor... You remember it, of course?" she said, her left eyebrow rising.

Doppler, blinking, replied, "I think so."

Amelia continued thoughtfully, after regarding him for a moment. "I've never heard you say it. Somehow, I knew what it was-- I glanced at it in the brief description of your spacing career, perhaps, on board the Legacy—but I've never heard you really say it."

"And I haven't heard your name mentioned to me more than once by you, personally," he commented, realizing that what she had said was true, that she hadn't heard him mention his own first name. In fact, she hadn't let him; merely, when they had met, she had correctly presumed him to be the financier of the voyage. He had never actually introduced himself. He accused her blandly, "You almost never refer to your name."

"Well," Amelia stated, "I don't want to concede free liberty with my name among my hands, do I?"

Doppler furrowed his brow in light confusion. "You considered me a hand?"

"No," Amelia answered, with no pause for consideration. "But you know as well as I do: Special treatment for one, special treatment for all. I don't play the favorite on my ship."

"So even though I was paying for the voyage, I received just as much special treatment as, say, the cabin boy?"

Amelia smiled. "Exactly."

Doppler, his head still levitating twenty feet above him, bravely leaned just slightly closer to Amelia. "If I may be so bold," he said slowly, almost cautiously, "we're not on a ship anymore."

Amelia looked at him. Her tone was light and humorous, but she was regarding him with a kind of intent quality. "When I'm off a ship, I try to keep my attitude toward playing the favorite close to what I hold while I'm on one. 'On Earth as it is in Heaven', you understand."

Doppler chuckled, inching slightly closer. "Still, there might be slight exceptions..."

"Slight exceptions..." Amelia consented, her countenance changing almost imperceptibly. Doppler gathered a final momentum of courage and leaned in close enough to hear her breathe gently. To his shock, and somewhat to his relief, she made no move to replace the distance between them. "And just when are you prone to making exceptions...?" he asked slowly.

Her smile spread unhurriedly across her face, her teeth flashing a bedazzling white for only a moment. "Rarely does the integrity to my routine beliefs fail me," she said slowly. "But the phenomenon does occur at times..."

Doppler, a dissatisfaction gradually encompassing him, inched closer. "And recently... has your integrity to your routine beliefs failed you...?"

"...It has..."

It was the closest to this divine creature Doppler had ever been. Oddly, he did not feel out of place or in some heavenly, evanescent dream; in fact, he had never felt closer to a place he was supposed to be in his life. He heard Amelia softly inhale, and then, gently, she spoke:

"...I think you should leave..."

Doppler felt his head fall twenty feet above him and land with a painful flop inside his stomach. He tensed in an instant, and saw with blinding vivacity how close to Captain Amelia he had inched. Panicked and embarrassed in less than a moment, he had put more than a foot between their faces with such a hurry that he beat Amelia to an upright position. He was then standing over her, with no memory of regaining his feet, and choked a moment, trying to speak, at least trying to voice some apology, no matter how croaky or halting it would be. Amelia was looking at him, eyebrows raised placidly. He coughed and cleared his throat, and then headed for the door.

"Doctor..." Amelia said loudly.

"No, no. I really should be off. It's probably late. You're probably tired. I've probably stayed too long for either of our own good..."


He was halfway toward the door.


He had reached the threshold.


He stopped in one rigid jolt.

Doppler turned stiffly around to face the inside of the room again in astonishment. Had he heard her correctly? Surely, he had not; she had said something that merely sounded like Delbert. After a careful search, however, he could not think of any word in his vocabulary that sounded like 'Delbert' except the word 'deliberate', which was not close enough. He chanced a quick look at her. She was watching him expectantly, in an almost curious, amused manner, and he wondered grimly if she were waiting for him to speak.

After a careful consideration, he amalgamated every nerve in his body that might supply him courage, and said hesitantly, "Y...Y-yes?"

One cat-like ear had been lifted slightly higher than the other was as she looked at him. She, too, seemed to have undergone some brief consideration. Her posture never changed, her voice never hushed, her countenance never faltered, but for a small period of time, he thought he could perceive a gentle affection in her eyes. She took him in from where he stood, halfway in and halfway out of the door, and he was taken slightly aback when she at last said evenly, "...Goodnight, Delbert."

'Delbert', to his secret delight, sounded just as natural as 'Doctor'.