The somewhat crumpled square of paper fluttered to the floor. You stared at it.
You absently placed the Doctor’s jacket down on the TARDIS railing. Your eyes never left the new object.
The Doctor didn’t own a camera. He didn’t take pictures, or keep hard copies, for that matter. He didn’t need to. Every image of every place he’d ever been to was stored in the TARDIS visual records. Everything digitalized. Paper seemed nonexistent in the time machine.
But the Doctor had a photograph in his jacket. And it seemed it had been there for a while, from the state of its foldings and crumplings. What sort of sentimental thing would the Doctor keep for so long, and so close to his hearts, too?
In all your travels with him, only once did you ever remember him holding a camera (which gave you a clue as to when it was taken before you even turned it around).
Caliburn House. You recognized it from the day he’d taken Professor Palmer’s camera back to Victorian times, from the dress of the lady and the man in a top hat walking up the stone steps in the background. But there was another figure there too. You looked closer. It wasn’t the ghost.
The person in question sat on the steps leading up to the manor. You could tell from their candid and relaxed position they obviously didn’t know they were being photographed.
Just sitting there, doing… nothing. There wasn’t anything special about what this person was doing in this picture, and yet it filled you with an unknown emotion.
Head tilted and body facing slightly away, you could only just make them out… smiling. They looked happy. Completely at ease (despite the presence of a “ghost”, you might add).
“Y/N? Is the sonic not in my–” he stopped. Walking back inside the TARDIS, the Doctor was cut off when he raised his eyes up to you. You were still standing by the seat by the console, back turned. A bolt of alarm coursed through him when he realized what the object of your attention was.
“Y/N?” he asked again.
You turned around, and asked him.
“Is this a picture of me?”
He stared at you. A look of shock. He swallowed and tried to think of something clever to say. But how could he deny it?
His eyes found the ground, with a countenance of a child caught doing something bad.
You walked over to him, slowly, hoping you weren’t coming across as angry. “Please, just, just tell me.”
“You looked lovely.”
You stopped. Speechless. You didn’t expect such an abrupt answer, or an answer such as this.
“You looked– LOOK. Still look. Not that you don’t always look… erm, look that way. I just, you looked– and STILL LOOK… And that’s why I– I just wanted to… that.”
“It’s– it’s a photograph. And, it can’t quite capture it, you know? But… you are… one of the most… brilliant things I see in this universe and… I just…” In a barely audible voice, he added, “I had to keep that moment.”
He glanced up at you to judge your expression. He expected anger, but you only looked on at him with… shock. And curiosity. Perhaps you weren’t angry with him, or offended.
He was definitely suprised by your arms around him.
He reached up to hug you back, relieved. “You’re… you’re not angry?”
You laughed. “Why would I be angry?” You pulled away to look at him. “You know, I’m with you practically every day. I didn’t think you would’ve needed a picture to remember me by.”
He gave you a small smile and sideways glance before quickly making an exit, escaping the console room.