rumpelsnorcack: (Rory/Amy hug animated)
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Title: A Long Life (But One Worth Living)
Author/Artist: rumpelsnorcack
Rating: PG-13 generally
Characters & Pairings: This chapter: Rory, OC
Word Count: 1191 for this chapter
Summary: The story of Rory's life, from meeting Amy to death.
This Chapter: The Pandorica is discovered.

Notes: Many thanks to the wonderful a_phoenixdragon and mollywheezy who have been extremely supportive through this whole process.  I've been writing this on and off for a while.  It's still not finished, but is getting there.  Not sure how many chapters there will be, but each one is intended as a short one-shot in its own right so all can be read independently.  However, they do all build together to give a picture of Rory's life, complicated timelines and all.  It's all roughly chronological, but each piece doesn't necessarily exist in the same timeline as each other piece.  So some are pre-reboot, some post, some exist in a universe which includes Mels, others don't.
Disclaimer: Sadly none of the characters are mine, I just enjoy hanging around in their sandbox.

Rory took a deep breath and rested his sword on his knees.  This had seemed to be a really great idea when he’d first conceived of it.  He’d sit with Amy for a few thousand years and, hey presto, things would work out fine.

Now that he was actually staring down the barrel of so much time he felt overwhelmed.  He glanced around the dark space surrounding him, filled with the decaying shapes of things that had never existed.  Rory shivered.  He’d been so close to being one of those, wiped out of existence as if he was worse than useless – he knew what it was like to not be real, to face the consequences of being erased from the world.  He knew how that felt, and despite the stresses of his current position he was unreservedly glad to be alive.  Well, sort of alive.  He squirmed a little, trying to get comfortable as the rough edge of the Pandorica cut into his stockinged legs.

That first day passed in a blur.  Rory spent it terrified, starting at every sound, imagining the sinister shapes around him moving slightly every time he took his eyes off each one.  He didn’t even have the luxury of sleep – the Doctor had been right; sleep was impossible.  Even though he’d spent many nights ‘sleeping’ as a Roman, now he knew he wasn’t human he couldn’t even escape into the pretence.  There was no comforting oblivion for Rory, not this day and not any of the days to come.

He resettled his body, trying desperately to forget the time stretching ahead of him.  ‘Oceans of time’ he’d once heard in a movie long ago, liking the sound of the phrase without ever giving thought to what it meant.  Now it threatened to press him down with the weight of all its meaning.  ‘I have crossed oceans of time to find you,’ the movie character had said … and Rory would have to cross oceans of time to protect Amy.  Oceans.  It sounded so pleasant, didn’t it?  A grand romantic gesture – and yet faced with the reality it seemed grimly horrific.  The only thing that kept Rory going was the knowledge that he had got Amy into this mess and it was his duty to see her through it.  The easy jump to the future would have been so simple and yet it had been impossible – how could one assuage this kind of guilt in an instant?  No.  Waiting was his penance.  Anything he could do to make her journey safer he would do.  He had to do.  Because there was nothing more bitter than the knowledge that he was the one who had done this to her.  Time.  He had time.  Oceans of it, in fact, and he would ride on all of them to keep Amy safe.

A day passed.

Another.

Then another.

Rory stopped stressing about the shapes surrounding him.  They never moved and soon became almost a comfort, familiar and stable.  Reminders of the other world, the other time.  Reminders of what he was doing – protecting Amy as the universe slowly disintegrated around them.  By the fourth day, Rory had settled into a pattern.  He wandered around the dark underhenge, twice, keeping an eye out for anything dangerous – which never came – then settled down in his customary position, sword across knee.

It took years before anyone noticed anything amiss.  Rory had sat down in 102 AD and it wasn’t until 118 AD that the Romans rediscovered him.

He cursed himself for years after because it was his own fault that their hiding place was located.  He’d begun to get restless, and that was their downfall.  He began to get careless and that’s when the Romans rediscovered Stonehenge.

Sixteen years – he was only sixteen years into the nearly-two-thousand he had to endure and he had already exposed himself, and Amy by extension, to dangers.  It may have been more boring to stay safe and sound under Stonehenge for the hundreds of years he needed to keep Amy safe, but it would certainly have been less difficult.  Instead, Rory had become curious.  It took years, but finally Rory had to see what was going on ‘out there’ in the real world.  Plastic heart pounding unpleasantly in his chest, Rory pushed the cover on the underhenge and peered up.  As he’d hoped, it was night.  The velvety darkness hid his form as he squeezed out of the hole and tiptoed through the massive stones surrounding him.

At first he started at every movement.  A small animal snuffling past almost made his heart leap out of his chest and sent him flying back down to the underhenge.  Soon, however, he ventured out again and patrolled around his site.  He knew that in hundreds of years people would make pilgrimages to the standing stones to see them and gawp in awe at their age and presence.  But now he figured he was safe and that the black drapes of night would conceal his presence.  Unfortunately, he forgot that he would leave footprints, small signatures of his touch upon the earth.

The Roman camp he’d been part of had been illusory and had disappeared like smoke when the Alliance had been blown out of existence by the exploding TARDIS.  It had left Rory and the Pandorica alone in their bubble for years.  However, by 118 AD the Roman exploration did make it to the area and Rory was discovered.

‘Halt. Who goes there?’

The voice barking out of the night made Rory jump.  He froze, hoping the person was talking to an associate and that he could retreat to the underhenge.

‘You, in the structure.  You appear out of nowhere.  What are you?’  The voice was slightly fearful this time.

‘Er … Roranicus, at your service.’  Rory gulped a little as he stepped forward, his Latin rusty but coming back to him nonetheless.  ‘How can I help you?

‘What is your rank and why are you here alone?’

‘Centurion.  I was left to guard a treasure by my legion.  It’s too big to move and we didn’t want it to be pilfered by any barbarians.’

‘Rubbish.  Nothing’s too big to move.  Let’s have a look at it, then.’

Rory was reluctant to show the other man down into the underhenge where Amy was now in danger of being discovered and taken.  Swallowing his fear, however, Rory nodded once and led the other man down to the Pandorica.

‘It’s a marvel!’ the other man breathed.  ‘We must tell the commander about this.  Rome must see this!’

And so Rory found himself transported back to Rome with Amy, with an entire legion at his back to help him protect her box.  They had been unsure of letting him accompany the Pandorica, but he convinced them that his duty lay with protecting it, and since his legion had disappeared (in fact, they were puzzled by why they couldn’t find any record of it at all) they decided they may as well take him to Rome and pass him up the chain of command.  He’d become someone else’s problem if they did that.
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