The Doctor sat in the bath and sighed contentedly. He had his rubber duck, his battleship, and one of those things that made a whistling noise in the water. And bubbles, he had lots of bubbles. Life was good. He soaped his arms and hummed a happy little tune he'd picked up on his last visit to Europa. He didn't know the words, but he made some up and started to sing.
There was a knock on the door.
“Yes?” he called, in case something awful had happened.
“Can I come in?” asked Zoe through the door.
“I'm terribly busy,” he lied. It was only a small lie, and unlikely to come back to haunt him at a later date.
“I need to speak to you. It's important.”
“I'm not decent!” he cried.
“I won't look,” said Zoe. There was a pause and then she added “It's about Jamie.”
“Has something happened to him?” asked the Doctor, immediately concerned. He wasn't over-protective, but Jamie was so very good at getting himself into trouble.
“That's what I need to talk to you about,” said Zoe.
The Doctor shifted some bubbles into a more discreet pattern and covered his nipples with his hands. “All right, you can come in.”
Zoe entered the room and sat on the toilet seat. “I don't quite know how to say this,” she said. “It's about emotions.”
Oh, dear. This wasn't the Doctor's area at all. Why couldn't it have been Cybermen? He was good at Cybermen. He resisted the urge to submerge under the bathwater and tried to look like he was comfortable with the conversation.
“I've been observing Jamie,” Zoe continued, “and I think he's having an emotional crisis.”
“Zoe,” said the Doctor, patiently, “have you been watching soap operas again?”
“I don't see what that has to do with anything,” she said defensively. “I've been observing him carefully and something is upsetting him.”
“Hmm,” said the Doctor non-committally. “I wonder what it could be.”
“I think he's in love with you,” said Zoe.
The Doctor opened and shut his mouth a few times. “Pardon?” he managed after some time.
“I said I think Jamie's in love with you.”
The Doctor wasn't sure what to say to that. He tried “I shouldn't think so, Zoe.”
“But he's always looking at you, and touching you when he doesn't have to.”
“He's a very tactile person, and I am quite compelling in profile.” The Doctor was aware of bubbles starting to burst and the water going cold. He moved his hands to cover more important areas and said “I think you're imagining things, Zoe.”
“I just thought you should know,” she said. “In case it becomes important later on.”
“Well... thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter.” He gestured towards the door, one hand staying underwater to guard his modesty. “Can I get back to my bath now?”
Zoe nodded. “I'm sure everything will work out for the best.”
Jamie was in his room, lying on his bed listening to The Proclaimers. He liked The Proclaimers, they sang in proper accents and they seemed to be very keen on Scotland. Jamie approved of such things.
The door opened and Zoe's head appeared in the gap. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” she asked over the sound of Sunshine on Leith.
Jamie turned the music down and sat up. “Aye, I wasn't doing anything important.”
Zoe sat down in an armchair and looked seriously at Jamie. “It's about the Doctor.”
Jamie sighed. “What's he done this time? Did he glue his hands together again?”
“He's madly in love with you,” said Zoe.
Jamie blinked at her. “He what?”
“Truly, madly, deeply in love with you. Isn't it obvious?”
“Not really, no,” said Jamie.
“It's the way he looks at you,” said Zoe. “It's terribly romantic.”
“Are you saying he's... you know. One of those homosexuals?”
“Oh, Jamie, don't be like that! There's nothing wrong with a man being in love with another man!”
“I know that,” he protested. “The Doctor explained all that when we went to the 51st century. I just didn't think he was one of them.”
“Well, I thought you should know.”
“What do you expect me to do about it?”
Zoe smiled slightly patronisingly. “That's for you to decide.”
At breakfast the next morning Zoe chattered away as the Doctor tried not to look at Jamie. What if Zoe was, against all likelihood, right? The Doctor had never had to deal with one of his travelling companions being in love with him, although he supposed it was probably inevitable in the long-run.
“Right,” said Zoe, pushing away her empty cornflake bowl. “I'll go and brush my hair.”
The Doctor looked at her hair. It was as neat as it usually was. “Again?” he ventured.
She nodded. “It's very important. What if we meet someone famous today?” And with that she was gone.
The Doctor looked at Jamie. Jamie looked at the Doctor.
Well, thought the Doctor, this is quite spectacularly awkward.
“Um,” he said.
“Aye,” said Jamie, nodding, “she's an odd one sometimes.”
The Doctor looked at his cornflakes. How were you supposed to tell if a human was in love with you? He thought back to Ian and Barbara and the sorts of things that made their impending marriage obvious. It was subtle, unfortunately, and the Doctor wasn't sure he was up to decoding subtle messages from Jamie.
He cleared his throat. “Jamie...” he began.
Something went ping.
The Doctor sat up and hit his head on the console. The he sat up more carefully and got to his feet.
“What was that noise?” asked Jamie.
“The temporal telegraph! It's the temporal telegraph! I haven't had a message on that thing for years! I was thinking about replacing it with a cup-holder.” He pointed. “Pass me that note, Zoe.”
Zoe tore off the bit of paper that had emerged from the console and handed it to the Doctor. His lips moved as he read the note, a frown quickly being replaced by a look of concern. “Cybermen! Someone's been captured by Cybermen!” He rushed round the console, turning dials and flicking switches. “Come on, old girl, you can go where you're supposed to just this once.”
Jamie picked the up the note from where the Doctor had abandoned it by the lever that opened the exterior doors. He'd been illiterate before he met the Doctor, but now he felt quite qualified in the matter of written English. “Hello, Sweetie,” he read out loud.
“The numbers are coordinates,” said the Doctor, hitting the console and pulling a lever.
“Sweetie,” Jamie repeated. “Who do you know that calls you Sweetie?”
“Oh, I expect it was meant for someone else,” said the Doctor, unconcerned. “The important thing is that this poor unfortunate has been captured by Cybermen. We must help them.”
With a lot of coaxing and a bit of minor violence, the TARDIS groaned into existence in real space. The Doctor rushed out of the TARDIS, closely followed by Jamie and Zoe.
“Thank you, Sweetie” said a blonde woman in an evening gown as they emerged from the TARDIS.
The Doctor got straight to the point. “Where are the Cybermen?”
The woman pointed. “They were standing where you materialised.”
“Oh. Oh, dear,” said the Doctor.
The woman raised a perfectly-shaped eyebrow. “You mean you didn't do that on purpose?”
“It's rather an unpleasant way to go,” he said.
She smiled. “Oh, Doctor, you really are too kind for your own good sometimes.”
“You seem to have me at a disadvantage.”
“Oh, you'll get used to that.” She winked and offered her hand. “Doctor River Song, archaeologist.”
Jamie took her hand before the Doctor could react. “I'm Jamie.”
“Oh, you're the famous Jamie!” said River Song. She reached into her handbag and pulled out a blue book. “So that must mean you're very early on, Doctor.”
“What's going on?” asked Zoe.
“I'm afraid I have a vague idea,” said the Doctor. “One of the perils of time-travel, I'm afraid.”
“Oh, hardly a peril,” said River with a smile. “Anyway, thanks for coming to my rescue, I should be able to handle the situation from here.” With that, and to Jamie's worrying amount of outrage, she grabbed the Doctor and kissed him.
Back in the TARDIS the Doctor tried to get his head round what had just happened. Women didn't usually kiss him, and certainly not with that sort of enthused familiarity. Perhaps it happened more often in his future. Perhaps he was going to become some sort of -
“I didn't like her,” said Jamie. “She was smug. Did she seem smug to you, Zoe?”
“I liked her hair,” said Zoe.
“No, there was something no right about her,” said Jamie. “Something sinister about the eyes. What did you think, Doctor?”
The Doctor looked at his friends. “I think... I think I shall have to forget any of that ever happened. Yes, that seems like the best course of action.” He closed his eyes. “Now, don't remind me once I've forgotten, this isn't something I enjoy doing.” The Doctor concentrated, trying to bring some order to the disarray of his mind.
“Well,” he said finally, “what were we talking about?”
Jamie and Zoe stared at him.
There was a note on the Doctor's pillow. With some trepidation he picked it up, opened it, and started to read.
Och aye, it said, Ah will love ye forever, We are meant tae be taegether, Ye are a bonny man, Please join my clan. He recognised the handwriting,
The Doctor closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Oh, Zoe,” he sighed.
“Jamie,” said the Doctor, “can I have a word?”
Jamie nodded. “I'm just making some tea, do you want some?”
“I'm afraid this is more important even than tea.” He fiddled with his tie. “Did Zoe say anything to you about... feelings?”
“I'll take that as a yes, then,” said the Doctor. He sighed. “Zoe seems to have taken it into her head that you and I are... that we should... well, she seems to be playing matchmaker, I'm afraid.” He took the note from his pocket. “She wrote me this poem. I'm supposed to think it's from you.”
“Oh,” said Jamie. “I suppose that means you didn't leave a dozen red roses outside my door?”
“That's rather cliché,” said the Doctor, “I should think I'd come up with something less prosaic. It's no use,” he continued, “I think we'll have to have some sort of confrontation.”
“I'll put spiders in her bed,” said Jamie. “That'll teach her a lesson or two.”
“I shouldn't think that will be necessary.”
“Can I do it anyway?” asked Jamie. “I was right confused wondering if you were... if you'd taken a fancy to me.”
The Doctor felt a mixture of relief and disappointment. “We'll have a nice sensible discussion and sort this all out, shall we?”
“But I only wanted you to be happy!” said Zoe.
“We're perfectly happy as we are,” said the Doctor. “And not in the least bit attracted to each other.”
“Yes, you are,” said Zoe with conviction. “It's obvious to everyone. People keep asking me if I feel left out. I don't feel left out,” she added, “but I do wish you'd admit how you feel about each other so I could stop feeling like a nosy old woman.” She sniffed. “And I want to be a bridesmaid.”
The Doctor almost choked. “Zoe, even if Jamie and I were in love, we certainly wouldn't be getting married.”
“Why not?” asked Jamie, sounding offended.
The Doctor gaped at him. “Well... well, we just wouldn't be. Marriage is a very serious commitment.”
Jamie looked down at his shoes. “Oh.”
The Doctor's hearts skipped a beat. Oh, why not? he thought to himself. Maybe he could save the situation. Somehow. “People who love each other don't have to get married. They can just live together. Like we do.”
“So we're all married to each other?” asked Zoe, looking confused.
“Yes,” said the Doctor. “So I don't see any problem with anyone being in love with anyone else. Hypothetically, that is.”
“I thought it would be more romantic than this,” said Zoe with a disappointed sigh.
“He's never romantic,” said Jamie. “You just have to take when you're given with him.”
“Yes,” the Doctor agreed, “I'm sure Jamie's quite happy with what we have at the moment. You are happy, aren't you, Jamie?”
Jamie nodded. “I don't expect flowers with wee notes in them about how lovely my knees are.”
“Well,” said the Doctor, relieved, “everything seems to be settled. Zoe, no more matchmaking. Jamie...”
“You do have lovely knees.”