Warning: Contains slash-if-you-squint
Disclaimer: I am not Tom Stoppard any more than Stoppard is Shakespeare.
Written for the prompt of, "Rosencrantz's best friend besides Guildenstern is a rubber duck. They like to have baths together and almost discover things. Discuss." For Hannah Mustang. Based mostly on the movie.
You Make Bathtime Oh So Fun
The best kind of friend to have, Rosencrantz had decided, was a rubber duck. At least when taking a bath, anyway. There were a few problems with this.
First, he didn't have a rubber duck.
Second, he desperately wanted to have a bath. Evidence of his travels clung to him in a thin film – and even if it hadn't he still would have wanted to wash up, if only because the castle and most of the people in it seemed to always be looking at him, and judging, as if he were not merely covered in filth but made of it as well.
Third, he didn't want to take a bath by himself in a place where it felt like all the walls had eyes. Guildenstern felt it too, he knew, and that was probably the reason the other man had vehemently rejected the suggestion of them bathing together.
Rosencrantz solved a majority of these problems by making his own rubber duck. It wasn't so much made from rubber as it was from stray bits of paper he had found fluttering around the bathhouse, and it wasn't shaped so much as a duck as it was a sailboat, but he was determined to think of it as a rubber duck all the same and was therefore quite proud of himself for having resolved the situation with such limited materials to work with.
He set the 'duck' on top of the water before climbing in.
"Is the temperature all right?" he asked solicitously, softly enough that no one might overhear and tease him for talking to an inanimate object. He 'listened' to the answer, then dropped his towel over a bench by the side of the tub and climbed in.
The water, as he'd expected, was perfect. He let himself sink under and then surfaced, grinning, to watch his creation bob past.
"Yes, it's very nice," he commented quietly. "It's a shame my other friend couldn't join us. You'd like him. He can be a bit grumpy sometimes, but… well, I like him."
He glanced over at Guildenstern out of the corner of his eye. The other man was several feet away, having opted for a mirror and a washbasin rather than a full tub of his own.
"Why is that?" Rosencrantz mused aloud to his paper creation. "I mean, he isn't any cleaner than I am. We were on the road for… oh, long enough for one hundred and fifty-seven coins to be spun, though very often it was the same coin being spun again… We're not made of money, you know, I'm not even sure if we have one hundred and fifty-seven coins between us… The point is, it was quite a while to be on the road. He should be in here too."
There was more that he might have added to this, but just then he noticed that Guildenstern was watching him in the mirror. Embarrassed, he ducked under the water again – thus failing to notice that as soon as they'd made eye contact Guildenstern had looked away just as quickly .
After that, Rosencrantz stuck to the business of washing himself. His 'rubber duck' floated next to him, perfectly non-judgmental, and failed to point out that Guildenstern kept glancing over in the foggy mirror. It was of the opinion that if they were meant to come to any realizations they should probably do so without any outside meddling.