What makes the Doctor happy? Some days I’d want to answer: “not much.” He’ll hide it with sarcasm or change the topic with a clever distraction, but sometimes I think he’s… can they get depressed? I mean emotionally they’re pretty much like us, right?
But then there’s these moments… Like when he talks about Earth or humans, you can tell he cares… but it’s like he doesn’t want anyone to know how much he cares. That’s why he always has to put us down while he’s helping us. Like I think he’d be ashamed for people to figure out that he looks after Earth more because we’re his favourite. I think it’s maybe against his principles to have favourites. He’s happy when he’s fixing something. My gran called it tikkun olam - repairing the world. He’s seen so many terrible things he couldn’t do anything about, and when he can, he sort of jumps at the chance. But it’s not just that. I think it’s also a game; he likes seeing what puzzles the universe can come up with.
And this is gonna sound weird, cos they’re so cold and snarky, but when the Doctor’s with the other guy… who really needs a better nickname, seriously, does he expect people to call him “The Master”?… and he does something kind or helps the Doctor with something? They don’t stop bickering; that’s their background noise. But it’s like the Doctor just sort of relaxes, like he was holding himself together the whole time he was out ‘fixing the universe’, and now he just… I feel weird talking about it cos it’s their private lives, but, I guess by now they forget I’m around or maybe don’t mind anymore? Sometimes, they’re sitting on the sofa or something, the Doctor will just let his head slump against the other guy’s shoulder and you know, for all the airs he puts on, he’s not too proper to put his arms around him… and he’s so gentle with the Doctor, you wouldn’t even know he was a robot. And it’s like the Doctor’s face ages about 100 years and you can see all the exhaustion and the sadness that he was hiding. Doesn’t sound much like happiness, does it?! But I think it’s a kind of relief… And I don’t think he sleeps until he lets himself relax like that. Until he lets himself trust again.
The Doctor does seem happy when he sees the two of us kidding around… This guy that’s a Gallifreyan mind in a robot body, all his pointed comments about humans or whichever locals the Doctor and I have just met up with, or about the Doctor’s untidiness, or about how the TARDIS still doesn’t like him (she likes me just fine, by the way!) and me barely managing to keep up with the level of wit in this place. Working in a pub was good preparation for dealing with these two when they get in some of their moods. I need to be pretty good at either tuning them out, or making the snappy comeback that makes everyone laugh and doesn’t make anyone cross. But anyway, when the Doctor notices we aren’t both constantly on guard anymore? It’s one more thing he can relax about.
Even though Mister Robot was the one that (sort of) invited me to travel with them, I think he worried I’d be some sort of rival. But it’s not like that. The Doctor only has eyes for his partner… if that! He’s very attached, but I don’t know if he even has those kind of feelings, generally. Which… I actually get where he’s coming from, more than you’d think. But yeah… because the Doctor also needs to hang out with regular people, run around exploring, and just chill out with people that he doesn’t have about a thousand years of unresolved tension with. So from their perspective that’s what I’m here for. From my side of it, well, you know I spent a couple years in the dullest town in the galaxy (which I’m not even exaggerating now, cos I’ve seen some of the others!) And, you know, I’d always thought, if I ever got around to leaving Joe, I might go back to London, or travel around, but this is so much better, you can’t even imagine. The TARDIS is my ticket out of Lannet and into more adventures than I ever dreamed of, learning firsthand all sorts of stuff I’d never even have heard about at university. I mean who wouldn’t go?!
And you know what, that’s the other thing I’ve seen the Doctor look happy about. He’s seen some stuff. Too much for one person, really, I don’t care if he is a superhuman Time Lord and whatever. Most of these other worlds are all old hat to him, and half of them full of bad memories. But when he gets to show it to me, and of course I squee about stuff, I mean I’m a fairly calm person but it’s flipping amazing out here. And he’ll get like… nostalgic and curious both at once? And I think that’s when he remembers a little bit, how it was to discover things for the first time.