The alien on the table was small, grey and exactly what you would expect an alien to look like, even down to the green blood, which was the most colourful thing in the room. Both Harry and Martha knew better by now, so were suspicious of an alien looking like it had come straight from the Roswell crash, which Harry, for one, still didn't believe in. Ideas about what aliens ought to be must come from somewhere, but since this one was already dead when UNIT found it, they weren't going to be asking it any questions. An autopsy was standard procedure in these situations, followed by either a cremation or burial, depending on their findings.
It was Martha's job really, but Harry hated missing out on something new and since she knew that, she'd invited him. Along with the discovery of a new alien lifeform, it meant that he also got to spend more time with Martha, who he was loathe to call his girlfriend only because he felt too old for those sorts of labels. All in all he wasn't having a bad day to start with.
Since it was useless, he laid down the saw and took to examining the alien's arm, trying to work out how it walked upright without any bones. He wanted to look at the spine - or where the spine should be - but Martha was more interested in its internal organs, so he would have to wait his turn.
The size of the alien meant Martha was better placed to rummage around inside it and while she did, Harry let the arm fall from his grip and watched her work. In theory he was concentrating on the alien's structure, and that was what he would have told anyone he was thinking about, but in reality he couldn't quite take his eyes off Martha. In the past few weeks he'd been thinking about their lives together and future marriage prospects. He was sure he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her and on his last day off had got as far as buying a ring. Now he just needed to decide when and where was the best place to propose and how to do it.
It was probably because this was uppermost in his thoughts that when she tried to bring him back to the present day by calling his name, the first thing that came out of his mouth was, "Will you marry me?"
Martha immediately stopped what she was doing and stood there, one hand in the air, the other arm still buried up to her elbow inside the alien, which made him wonder if it was TARDIS-like inside. Although he was stunned that he had said it, he still meant it. He was just worried about the way she looked at him as if she'd been hit by a bus. To cover himself, he carried on talking, trying to pretend he'd meant to say it when he did.
"I mean, I should do it properly, of course, go down on one knee, show you the ring, but I should probably take these gloves off first and I don't have it on me and I..." He trailed off, horrified as what they had previously thought was an alien corpse between them sprang off the table, knocking Martha onto the floor.
Harry ran over to help her up, but although she took his hand their gloves slid against each other, so he transferred his grip to her arm. Because the alien was half-open, when it jumped up it had splattered blood everywhere, and mostly over Martha. The touch of Harry's bloody glove could hardly make it much worse.
While they were busy on the floor the alien ignored them to crash through the door, knocking it off its hinges. Harry and Martha shared a glance, both equally astounded, before they followed it out.
"You don't have to answer now, of course," he continued as they ran.
"I really think we should discuss this later," she called to him.
He went red and dropped the subject. He was too busy trying not to slide too much around the corners. The corridors of UNIT weren't really built for running at speed, which was probably rather the point. The alien didn't appear to have a problem with it, though.
Fortunately, the alarm had been raised and one of the soldiers was on the spot to shoot the alien into tiny pieces, which was something of an anti-climax. Harry stood looking at what was left of the alien, panting and wondering how it had still been moving with half its guts out. Now they'd never know.
"We ought to get cleaned up, I suppose." Martha sounded as disappointed as he felt. The autopsy had raised more questions than it answered, except for when it came to disposal of the body.
Harry nodded, but didn't move, still trying to make sense of what had happened. Martha took his hand in hers and turned them to walk away from the mess that was now somebody else's problem. They had an autopsy room to scrub, as well as themselves.
He blamed himself for what had happened. If he hadn't distracted her they might have noticed what was going on with the alien and why it suddenly wasn't dead despite having been cut open. "I'm sorry," he said, "I didn't mean..."
"Harry." Martha stopped them with a tug on his hand and turned to face him. "Do you want to marry me or not?"
"Well, yes." Nothing that had happened had changed that.
"Right, well, then take me out to dinner and do it properly." She leant forward and kissed him.
"It will be the best dinner you've ever had," he promised, as he hurriedly tried to work out where to take her to impress her enough that she'd marry him, before he realised what she meant, and smiled. His flat would do nicely, not least because it was entirely possible she wouldn't require dinner and they could skip ahead to the rest of the evening.
He smiled at her and kissed her properly, taking her in his arms.
"Look at the state of us," she said, when they parted. She looked down at herself with a grimace.
"For better or worse," he muttered, just loud enough for her to hear.
She grinned and touched her finger to his nose.
He nearly went cross-eyed trying to see it, but there was definitely green there. "I hope you've had that tested." They didn't know what bacteria might be in the alien's blood, which was the whole reason for gloves and overalls after all.
Martha just grinned more broadly and took his hand again. "Come on, I'm starving."
He followed along after her. "I can't believe an autopsy makes you hungry."
"Says the man who proposes marriage while conducting one." The squeeze of her hand told him she didn't really mind.
He had to give her that one. "I've learnt my lesson, I'll never do it again."
"I should hope so too. I don't intend on going anywhere."
"Except to shower."
They parted at the door to the Ladies Showers, but before she went in he took hold of a strand of hair that had escaped from her ponytail and lay against her neck. The green went nicely with the black of her hair, he thought.
He ducked the retaliating swat and laughed all the way to the Mens Shower room.