I wanted you to know
That I love the way you laugh
I wanna hold you high and steal your pain
Seether ft. Amy Lee
The iPod, the Doctor had decided, was actually a pretty decent piece of human technology. In a primitive way it was really rather sexy, all the shiny bits and slinky white headphones and satisfying clicky noise. Really quite ahead of its time.
Martha was constantly listening to hers, and the Doctor didn't exactly mind. If there was nothing in particular going on, if Martha was in a certain mood, she was a bit too much like hard work. Luckily the little metal slither kept her as happy as Larry, and the Doctor was very, very grateful. And she sang along quite a bit, which was fine by him. Lovely voice. In fact, she was singing along right now, eyes closed.
"I wanted you to know, that I love the way you laugh," she crooned, swaying slightly to the beat. The Doctor frowned.
I love the way you laugh…
The phrase sounded far too familiar for his liking.
Rose had gone to bed, and the Doctor hadn't. Didn't even plan to, actually. He was in far too good a mood for sleeping. He'd been trading terrible jokes with Rose over hot chocolate for the past hour, and all in all it'd put him in a peachy mood. Rose had a habit of doing just that, in fact. Just one smile and life was tickety-boo, no matter what variation of certain death and dismemberment was facing the pair of them. And when she laughed…
The Doctor didn't like to deal in absolutes, because reason told him that somewhere, sometime, he must have met someone whose laugh was as beautiful as Rose's. And yet something in his lower left heart told him no. There was simply no competition. Rose had the most beautiful laugh in the entirety of space and time, and that was quite an achievement. He ought to congratulate her.
She was half asleep when he stuck his head around her bedroom door.
She shifted sleepily.
The Doctor suddenly realised how odd what he was about to say might sound, but knowing Rose, she'd understand. He decided to say it regardless.
"I love the way you laugh," he blurted out, feeling idiotic, which wasn't a feeling he was entirely used to. Now who was acting like an ape?
There was silence. He wondered if she'd nodded off again, and was just about to leave when she spoke, sounding puzzled.
"Um… cheers. That all?"
"Yeah." The Doctor replied softly, feeling oddly elated. "Yeah, that's all. Just that I love it."
"The way you laugh."
"Right." Rose sounded as if she were three quarters asleep, "Thanks."
He left, closing the door behind him.
It was true. He really did love the way she laughed. And why shouldn't he say so, even if it was two in the morning?
Feeling very cheerful, he walked back down the corridor.
The young woman pulled one earphone out and cocked an eyebrow attentively.
"That's a pretty romantic thing to say, right?"
He said it casually, knowing that he was in very delicate territory. Romance was one of the subjects he did his utmost to avoid with Martha, and he knew he was taking a gamble. However, the urgency of the matter made him throw caution to the wind, and he'd just have to ignore that awful, hopeful look on her face.
"What? What's romantic?"
The Doctor waved his hand impatiently.
"You know. What you just said. Telling someone that you love the way they laugh."
Martha looked blank. The Doctor sighed in frustration.
"If some bloke came up to you on the street and announced that he loved the way you laughed, you'd be chuffed, right?"
Still looking mystified, Martha replied slowly.
"I suppose. If it was the right bloke."
"And if it was the right bloke?"
He leaned forward, desperate that she say the right thing, tell him that what he'd said almost a year ago would have meant something, really meant something.
"Yeah. I guess I'd be pretty pleased."
Now that the burning question had been affirmed, he snapped into his normal hyperactivity. "Just thought, while you were singing. Lovely voice of yours, by the way. Touch of Ella Fitzgerald. Delightful woman, her. Made a great martini. Not like that Dusty Springfield," he smacked his lips distastefully, "Good hair though. Bright hair. Nearly put my eye out."
Martha's voice was gentle, "You alright?"
The Doctor swung round, his face lit up with his most disarming smile.
"I'm better than alright. I'm super. Super dooper. Super as a dooper in a pupa's booper. Now there's a thought."
Martha put her earphone in, regarding him carefully, "Just checking."
He leaned against the handrail in the control room of the TARDIS, forgetting to think about thinking until his hand brushed something soft.
Why did she leave her things lying around. Honestly. That girl.
He picked up the hooded top and started to fold it with uncharacteristic fastidiousness, neatly aligning the cuffs, smoothing the hood carefully. It was only when he caught a whiff of her perfume, her inexorable scent, that he stopped, sliding to the floor, the garment crumpling in his hands.
Soft acoustic guitar began to play over the TARDIS's sound system, a tender layered melody that was all at once soothing and heartbreaking. He looked up indignantly. "Oi!"
This wasn't his special 'brooding' song! His special brooding song was Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah. He loved that song. Still got him a bit teary, actually. But this one he'd never even heard before. A man's gravelly voice started to sing.
"I wanted you to know – that I love the way you laugh."
So the old girl knew what she was doing after all then.
For the first time since saying goodbye to the girl he loved, the Doctor gave way to his own sobs.