rumpelsnorcack: (Rory/Amy hug animated)
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Title: A Long Life (But One Worth Living)
Author: rumpelsnorcack
Rating: PG-13 generally
Characters & Pairings: This chapter: Rory, Knights Templar
Word Count: 818 for this chapter
Summary: The story of Rory's life, from meeting Amy to death.
This Chapter: Rory finds himself in the unwelcome company of a new group.  To save the Pandorica he must go with them, but at what cost?

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 should be able to 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.

‘You what?’  Rory shook his head, sure he had misheard something.  ‘You said what?  To who?’

He glanced over at the nine bedraggled men waiting patiently by the Pandorica.  They stood at an easy parade rest, clearly men who were used to the military.  Their tunics, embroidered with two men on one horse, were worn and ripped around the base but nonetheless pristine white.

‘I said,’ the other man repeated patiently, ‘that we have given the box to these men.  We can’t look after its upkeep anymore.’

‘Upkeep?’  Rory was outraged.  ‘What upkeep?  I do all the work and I don’t cost anything …’

‘Even so … it is very large and very difficult to keep.  These men want it and so they will take it for us.’

Rory’s heart sank and he looked at the men again.  They didn’t look exactly welcoming.

‘But what will I do?  I … the box …’ Rory trailed off, feeling tears blinking behind his eyes.  He refused to give in to them, but he was so damn tired of being passed from group to group and never being in control of his own life.

‘You go with the box, of course.  What would anyone do with a lone centurion?  Besides, they want you …’ he waved his arms in the direction of the knights who were starting to look interested.  Rory sighed.  Great.  It wasn’t that his life had been particularly fulfilling, but dammit if it wasn’t comforting knowing the basics of how things would be.  No matter which tribe he’d been handed to – Frankish, Germanic, whatever else – he had at least known that life would be relatively similar.  He would be stationed somewhere with the Pandorica and … that would basically be it.  Boring?  Yeah, maybe.  But it was familiar.

He glanced over at the nine men again.  Now he could tell that life was about to change in a big way.

‘You.  Boy.’  One of the knights was waving at Rory imperiously.  He sighed and moved toward the man.

‘Yes?’  He said, the sigh still obvious in his voice.  Boy, he was called, when he had already lived for hundreds of years more than this man could even dream of.  ‘Sir,’ he added hastily, however, when the man’s expression turned stony cold and his lips compressed into a tight line.

‘You will come with us.  The box will follow.’  He started moving, gesturing to his fellow knights who all turned obediently as one and headed in the direction he had pointed in.

‘No.’ Rory was adamant.  He stayed on the spot.

The man turned back towards him, the expression now incredulous.   ‘Excuse me?’ he asked.

‘I won’t leave the box.  That’s my job.  Where it goes, I go.’  Rory felt terrified as he faced the man who had wheeled his horse back towards Rory and was now staring down at him, his face unreadable.  For the first time in years Rory felt afraid, but he stood his ground.  Amy was inside the Pandorica, and therefore no matter what happened Rory had to stay with it.  He shook as the man examined him.  When he had passed from tribe to tribe it had a certain familiarity and none of the leaders were as intimidating as this one.  The tribes all dealt with each other, and consequently with Rory, in a very similar manner.  There was a relaxed, congenial atmosphere.  Whereas here … well, let’s just say Rory was not sure he could trust these guys to keep the Pandorica safe.

‘You do not do as you are told?  Why is that?  All my men are obedient to the Lord.  Why are you not?’

Rory gulped.  Despite an irrational desire to sneer ‘maybe, but you aren’t your Lord,’ Rory knew he was in danger.  The unfamiliarity of these Knights, and their obvious fanaticism, was very unsettling.  He didn’t think an explanation of Juventas’s appearance to him in Rome would help here.  In fact, he rather suspected it might be hazardous to mention it.  Dredging up his memories of the Knights Templar, Rory felt that a newfound and very deep belief in the Christian God would be best.  Even so, he knew he was going to have to do something to explain his eternal youth.  He had no idea how long he would be with these people but he did know his appearance was becoming part of his legend.  As the old Roman gods slowly faded out of favour the easy lies about Juventus were becoming increasingly difficult to sell, and his legend was becoming less easy to control.

‘It’s my … my calling, you see.  I can’t just leave the box.  It’s part of its … its magic, see.’  Rory wasn’t sure that ‘magic’ was going to be any better than ‘Juventus made me do it’ but he couldn’t think of anything else on the spot.

The man leaned down from his horse and peered into Rory’s face.  ‘He isn’t lying,’ he said after a long moment.  He sat back up until he was ramrod-straight on his horse.  ‘We stay here until the box can be transported.  We cannot afford to let this man out of our sight – he is our ticket to greatness.’

Rory gaped.  He was the ticket to greatness?  What?  How? The man pulled his horse around and turned his back on Rory, seemingly indifferent to Rory’s comment about magic.  Why was that?  Did they believe in magic?  His understanding of the older forms of Christianity was sketchy, but he didn’t think they should be this blasé.  That they were was making him even more anxious.

He hurried to catch up with the man – a simple enough task as he had his horse at a very slow walk.

‘Excuse me.  Sir?’  He called out.  ‘How am I a ticket to greatness?  I’m not anything special.  I’m just a guard of a special box.’

‘That, my boy, is where you are wrong.  The box is indeed wondrous – more wondrous than I had expected from the tales.  However, it is you, Centurion, who holds the most interest.  How do you remain so young?  It is a mystery which we will unravel and it will enable us to glorify God even higher.’

He held up a hand to forestall Rory’s protests.  ‘Yes, Centurion, I know all about your stories.  But they cannot be true – everyone knows the Romans were lying heathens – and even you must realise the game is up.  You hold the key; you have had the secret of immortality bestowed on you by our Lord, and we will find out what your secret is.  The Lord commands it.’  The flush on his face and his exalted expression sent a shaft of terror right into Rory’s chest, where it thumped uneasily.

Rory pulled back.  He glanced over at the Pandorica, which was gleaming softly in the fading sun.  His plastic heart hammered even harder as he thought about what invasive tests the Knights might devise.  They would never understand the plastic or the real truth, but he had a feeling they would never give up.  They were clearly fanatical – or at least this leader was.  The Romans’ more slap-happy attitude towards their gods and worship had made Rory complacent.  However, these men were unlikely to allow ‘live and let live’ to be their motto.  While Rory had attended church in Leadworth to please his father, he had never really believed in God.  He had never been able to internalise the message without some tiny part of his brain questioning it, refusing to allow Rory to immerse himself.  It had never made sense to Rory, so he couldn’t believe in it, but now he clearly had to discover some semblance of faith – and quickly.

Still concerned, Rory had no choice but to follow the men.  While he had in the past wished for a more interesting life, now that it had turned up, Rory was certain he didn’t want it.  However, it looked like it had arrived and it was now up to him to make the best of it.  Taking one last look at the Pandorica for strength, he turned resolutely towards his new life.
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