the road bends back upon itself

The calm in the TARDIS was more than a little unsettling. Usually something was exploding or the Doctor was flitting madly about, or they were being chased by aliens, or the pool was on fire, but today was like a Thursday afternoon. It was quiet and calm and relaxing. Amy had spent a generous portion of the morning wandering the TARDIS' myriad, labyrinthine halls, peeking into rooms with oddly shaped doors, finding herself in even odder rooms. She'd almost thought it was a joke when she first entered the little room down at the very end of a long, twisting corridor. She'd seen the Disney cartoon when she was little, and always been a little creeped out by the idea of kissing the Beast's great hairy lips. She hadn't watched "The Beauty and the Beast" more than the once, but there was one image which had remained lodged in her memory: that of the sparkling pink rose which floated beneath crystalline glass. It was quite simply a lovely sight, one that Amy had often attempted to capture on paper, but had never managed satisfactorily.

She traced one manicured finger along the surface of the glass dome, wondering why on Earth or any other planet the Doctor would have such a room hidden away. She supposed there were many hundreds, thousands perhaps, of facets of the Doctor she didn't know, would never know. It was an occupational hazard of being 900 years younger than your traveling companion.

Yet something about the rose seemed fresh, almost cutting. Looking directly at it and its full pink petals made Amy's eyes sting. Still, she noticed that unlike many of the odd rooms she'd encountered, which were dusty and stuffy and felt neglected and forgotten, this room had been lived in. This petite room with the spindle legged table and the balcony leading to nowhere had been occupied recently. There was not a speck of dust anywhere, and the rose seemed to positively glisten.

She's been so entranced by the flower, by its shimmering beauty, that she had not even realized that it was actually floating within the jar. She didn't kid herself that it was magic, like in the movie. It was probably just a small field where gravity had been perpetually suspended. Amy grasped the top of the bell jar and was about to lift it off when something moved in the corner of her eye. There was a door which had not been there a moment ago. This was quite normal for the TARDIS. She switched things around whenever she pleased, most usually without an identifiable reason. It could have just been coincidence. It probably was.

Amy found herself in a room comprised almost entirely of the color pink. Her first thought was, daughter. It would explain why the room was hidden away. It would explain the resemblance to a Disney princess movie. The Doctor's daughter. He was, after all, over 900 years old. It shouldn't be surprising. Amy recalled the way he'd held baby Melody, with a practiced ease and a comfort that seemed at once joyous and utterly miserable. The Doctor's baby girl.

Amy wandered through the room, intrigued, trying to imagine a little girl with the Doctor's light brown hair and laughing blue eyes, seeing the Doctor sitting here, at the foot of the bed, reading aloud Gallifreyan bedtime stories. "The Witch and the Time-head."

A white chest of drawers stood against the far wall. Scattered on top were a few bits of cheap jewelry, some hair ties, and a baby blue notebook. Amy picked it up and undid the clasp. On the inside cover in the Doctor's familiar looping script, read the words, to Rose, from the Doctor.

Amy traced the word "from" with her fingertip. It was different from the other four words. The beginning of the upper loop was squiggled and stuttered, as though the Doctor had hesitated, perhaps begun a different letter, before scrawling the word and hastening to the finish.

From the Doctor. Perhaps not a daughter, then. Amy didn't think the Doctor's daughter would call him "Doctor". She'd always kept the image in her mind of a little tyke propped up on the Doctor's shoulder, shrieking delightedly, calling him "Daddy." Amy would have like to hear someone call the Doctor "Daddy".

She flipped through the journal. Most of the pages were filled with neat, bulbous handwriting, but one or two were home to blurry sketches. There was one of the TARDIS, another of what might have been the outline of a galaxy, and a third, the cleanest and most painstaking, a man's face. Shadowy stubble shaded his chin. His nose was larger than average, as were his ears, and the top of his head was covered with short dark bristle. Amy had seen this man once before, in the flurry of images the gigantic Atraxi eyeball had projected onto the roof of the hospital the first time the Doctor had returned. There had been a series of faces, which she'd later learned had been the Doctor's earlier "regenerations." This face was one of them. It was a very good likeness. This Rose must have been an artist. Amy was about to close the journal when she spotted a faint outline at the very bottom of the page, tucked into the corner. The words were so faded as to be nearly invisible, they must have been erased, but if Amy squinted, she could just read the words, I love you.

Amy fully intended to return to the main control room, diary in hand, and ask the Doctor who's pink room was hidden at the end of the hall, however, when she came up behind him and peered over his shoulder, she stopped dead in her tracks. The Doctor was doodling idly on a scrap of paper with short deft strokes, a small flower with dozens of close set petals and a short, thorny stem. A rose.

And suddenly Amy realized that she didn't need to ask.