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You Really Are Smiling, Aren't You?

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“You know what I think?” Bill says, as she and the Doctor make their way out of the city and back through the wheat fields. She’s spread her arms out wide as she walks, enjoying the peculiar sensation of an alien breeze rushing between her fingers.

“What do you think?” The Doctor asks genially, coat flapping loosely around him as he strolls along beside her.

“I think we make a good team.” She means all of it really – the entire day – but specifically the part at the end, where the two of them told the human colonists to smile; it had been synchronised and without prior agreement, and doing it had made her feel like a total badass.

The Doctor makes a small humming noise, which Bill decides to optimistically interpret as agreement.

“And I still mean it, you know,” she continues, hoping to prompt some kind of response from him. “I’ve had a great day. Even with the killer robots that weren’t actually killer robots. It’s been cool, doing this.”

“Good,” says the Doctor. He doesn’t make a similar admission, not like the one she’s been trying to get out of him all day, but Bill thinks she can hear something warm in his tone. Letting her chatter lapse off into comfortable silence, she focuses instead on the un-earthly rustling of wheat in the breeze and the odd red tinge to the clouds. As they approach the TARDIS Bill turns around to take another look at the city.

“Wait a sec,” she calls to the Doctor, taking her phone out of her pocket. After snapping one landscape of the city, she twists around so it’s behind her again and switches to her phone’s front camera. Bill pauses then, looking over at the Doctor expectantly.

“Well, come on,” she urges, gesturing to the space beside her. The Doctor raises an eyebrow but nevertheless comes to stand next to her, sticking his hands in his pockets as he crouches down so they’re at the same height. Bill gives a broad smile to the camera and waits for him to do the same. Eventually it becomes clear that this isn’t going to happen.

“You know,” she says, once she’s taken the photo, “most people smile when they take a selfie.”

“I’m not most people,” replies the Doctor, and wanders off towards his box.

“No, clearly you’re the kind of person who smiles for killer robots but not for pictures,” Bill mutters, setting off after him. It’s only then that she catches sight of the little emoji patch on his back. Grinning, she takes a quick photo of it before putting her phone away.

“I was right, then,” she says casually, as the Doctor pauses to unlock the TARDIS door.

“Right about what?” he asks distractedly.

“You enjoyed this just as much as I did. Your emoji patch is all smiley.”

He stares at her, and Bill stares right back. After a moment, the corners of his mouth slowly curve up into something that could be a small smile.

“Come along, Bill,” is all he says.

As she follows him into the TARDIS, Bill thinks the patch on her back is probably a mirror of his own.