1: Rose draws a picture.
Rose is sitting on the floor, tugging things out of her freshly restocked backpack. Clean t-shirts, socks and underwear are bursting out as she pulls at the densly packed contents. At the very bottom she finds the top she was looking for, the one with the funny print. A piece of paper comes up with it, something left and long forgotten from another life. She holds it up.
An old medical bill. She smirks.
"Dr Rajit Sengupta. Thirty quid. Well, Dr Raj, sorry to inform you we won't be needing your services anymore. Got another doctor now." She lets the bill sail to the floor and peeks into the depths of the backpack for anything else forgotten. Dust, a paperclip, a pen. She retrieves the latter. Reading the company logo on the pen's clip there's a feeling of familiarity, like she knows it. And she remembers: sitting on other floors, with that pen, sitting on benches and beaches and floors with that very pen and writing and doodling. She used to do it quite a lot during that period of awkward teen creativity. The corner of her mouth lifts.
It can't possibly still be working. Clicking it a few times she puts it to the paper that landed face down and tries it. A few ghost lines, empty of any colour, are imprinted on the surface. But then, suddenly, there it is. A sharp, effortless, evenly distributed dark blue line, and she lets out a pleased noise. She always did like this pen. It never let her down.
She wonders if she remembers how. Putting the tip to the undisturbed white she bites her lip, and gives it a try.
Head, torso, legs. That's about right, proportion wise. That's a person. A quite thin person.
Some clothes, maybe. A lab coat, in honour of Dr Raj.
Nah. It turned into an overcoat.
Hands are tricky. They go in the pockets.
The hair stands on end, the mouth smirks. Why is she not surprised.
She might as well make the eyes his while she's at it and admit she's drawn the Doctor. And it's not too bad, she's still got it; the lines, the principles of features. She chuckles, then hesitates for a second before shrugging and starting another figure next to his likeness. Shorter, feminine, shoulder-length hair. The grin is a bit wide but she compensates it with getting the rest of the face right. She gives herself a dress; why not. Kind of a... evening gown type dress. She saw something like this once, with the top like that, thought it would have made an amazing wedding dress.
And there it is. She's done it. Might as well draw the veil too, pulled back.
How stupid is that. She sits up and laughs at herself. Maybe her subconscious is trying to tell her something. As if, ever (don't go there). Or it's taken too strongly to the notion that she wants to keep travelling with the Doctor 'Forever'. Because that's what it is, isn't it? Tying the knot... That bond. Forever.
She stares at the drawing. There are two people, standing next to each other, and at least one of them has just promised to stay forevermore.
'Til death do us part'.
That's not forever, is it.
Til death do us part.
She adds the words above them, in hard, angry letters.
She's going to break her vow, that promise to never leave him alone. She's going to let him down no matter what, just by being what she is; a stupid, brittle, mortal, pathetic being. Helplessly, inevitably, she's going to be a quitter.
She balls the paper up and hurls it at the floor. The pen follows, more carefully (she still likes it) and she stands up, gathers an armful of clothing and goes to sulk in the closet down the hall.
"Rose! Which one do you like best-" The Doctor bursts into the room with an identical tie in each hand. "Rose?"
The room is empty. Well, empty of Rose. Full of other things. The disemboweled knapsack, defeated at his feet, scattered socks. A pair of lacy knickers, shamelessly strewn on the floor. A pen. A balled-up piece of paper. He pokes it with his foot.
He should pick it up.
No, he shouldn't.
Too late. He did.
If she catches him examining her trash he'll just blame the influence of her human curiosity.
There's printed text on one side. Uninteresting. Hand drawn lines on the other. He pulls the creases apart and lets the image unfold.
There's a picture of a man. Looks quite like him, actually. That's funny. Last time anyone drew a picture of him he was captured on paper – literally. He doesn't think this is the case now, but you never know. At least this time he'd have some company, because there's a woman on there too – looks quite like Rose, actually.
It's a drawing of him and Rose! That's nice. He doesn't have any keepsakes like that, unless you want to count random surveillance photos lost on the web, and he'd rather not. This is more realistic, in some symbolic way, in that they're standing next to each other looking rather happy. For some reason it makes him feel a bit warm.
A lot warm.
He carefully traces the lines of Rose's dress with a finger. He's never seen it on, she must have thought it up. And there's some kind of veil on top, like in one of those human wedding rituals.
That warmth seems to slowly creep up his neck until it feels like his cheeks are on fire. He feels a slight onset of vertigo, probably due to the not breathing.
But it's just wishful thinking.
She would never actually consider him in that regard.
After all, she crumpled the picture up and threw it away.
That must mean the whole idea was meaningless to her.
(Even though he shouldn't.)
There are words at the top, written with more pressure, a different feeling to the lines. 'Til death do us part'.
It's that traditional proclamation. Goes with the theme. But it's as if something changed between drawing and writing, as if some bad thought entered and led to the rejection of the entire project. He stares at the sharp letters. 'Til death'.
The heat fades, leaving something cold behind.
Is that what she thinks? That her mortality would be an obstacle for th... anything? Oh darl- ...Oh Rose.
He can see what she means. But he doesn't want to hear it. Not right now.
(Not this time.)
He folds the words back, out of sight. Giving the picture a last look he carefully evens out the creases across the paper with his thumbs. Then he folds the paper up, drawings face to face – it seems the right direction – and slides it into his breast pocket.
When Rose stomps back into the room the Doctor hastily fishes out the ties again, holding them up for judgement.
"Which do you like?"
"What's the difference?"
"Rose! There's a world of difference! For example, this one... is at least... No, wait, it's this one, that's at least two shades... Um..." He squints his eyes at the ties and tries to remember the point of it all.
She stares at him.
"Wear them both."
His smile spreads from ear to ear and he proclaims her to be a genius as he throws his arms around her, but with his face behind her head, away from her eyes, he does find it a bit hard to breathe and for a moment his expression does turn a bit languish. He feels it, and it's why he holds on a bit too long.