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/Amy, Eleven
Word Count: 1296 this chapter
Summary: The story of Rory's life, from meeting Amy to death.
This Chapter: During and after he end of Amy's Choice
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.

It had been an odd sort of day, Rory mused as Amy confronted the Doctor about whether he really thought of himself the way the Dream Lord had talked about him.  Rory tuned them out, preferring to process his own confusion.  It wasn’t every day you got stuck in two dreams by a psychotic alternate of your current travelling companion, after all.  Admittedly, odd things were beginning to become somewhat routine on the TARDIS, but generally they didn’t happen because their host was playing footsie with his own psyche.

Amy had, as usual, taken it all in her stride and now she seemed totally at ease – happily in this new reality and having shaken off the dreams as if they were, well, dreams.  By contrast, Rory couldn’t quite get rid of the idea that this could also be a dream.  He couldn’t trust his senses when they had been so unreliable, simply because the dreams had seemed so real.  Each one had felt believable – he could touch, smell, taste everything in those dreams as vividly as he could right now.  The soft breeze of the heating system blowing around his ankles as he watched Amy and the Doctor seemed exactly as real as the biting cold that had seeped into every crevice just minutes ago on the freezing TARDIS.  So how could Rory possibly know that he was truly back in the real world?

Then something the Doctor said impinged onto Rory’s consciousness and he frowned as he realised it was true – he did have a question for Amy.  The Doctor pushed her towards him and Rory began gabbling, all worries about trusting his senses gone.

‘… how did you know it was a dream?  How did you know you wouldn’t just die?’ he finished eventually.

‘I didn’t,’ Amy said and she … she blushed?  She couldn’t look him in the eye.  Amy was never the best communicator but Rory’d had long practice in reading her, and this – this was pretty brilliant.  It was there in her body language, in the taut lines of her body, in the embarrassed twitching of her feet.  It was finally dawning on Rory that Amy, despite her bravado and the many unflattering names she called him, actually did love him.  She’d had no idea when she crashed that van if she would even wake up, but she’d done it anyway.  Because of him.  Rory felt a sudden lightening in his chest as he took her hand.  She still hadn’t said she loved him, but she didn’t need to.  The look on her face was enough – the knowledge that she’d died for him, even if it had been in a dream, was more than enough.  Feeling on top of the world, Rory kissed her.

He’d forgotten that the Doctor was there, he’d forgotten everything except for Amy, but when he was able to think again, hours later in the room he shared with Amy, he knew the Doctor was right.  This would change his life.  Always before, he’d feared that Amy would run away and leave him – and hadn’t she done just that when the Doctor whisked her away to the stars?    Hadn’t she fed those insecurities when she’d kissed the Doctor behind Rory’s back?  When she’d been so obviously at home and at ease on their crazy adventures while Rory floundered around feeling useless and unwanted?  You are always so insecure, she’d told him in one of those dreams.  Her implication had stung – she was suggesting that Rory should just know somehow without her ever telling him (and through her many flitting moods and contradictory behaviours) that Amy loved him.  And she was right, he was insecure, but only because her insecurities had prevented her from ever letting him know how much she meant to him.  Because she’d never been able to say the words Rory most wanted to hear, and somewhere deep inside Rory had always feared that she never said those words because she didn’t feel them.  But now … now she had explicitly chosen Rory.  She still hadn’t said it, but she had died to see him again.  He kept coming back to that because it was so huge, so overwhelming.  He couldn’t stop a grin from spreading over his face.

‘Rory,’ Amy cut into his thoughts as she entered the room.  He turned towards her, blushing but with the grin still in place.  He hoped she couldn’t read his thoughts.  Amy blushed herself, then slapped his arm playfully.  ‘Rory, stop that.  It’s not that big a deal.’  Damn, Rory thought.  She can read them – the same years of practise he’d utilised had helped her, too.  He could feel the heat in his face intensify as she smirked at him.  But behind that smirk was still the vulnerable young girl he’d befriended with a football so many years ago.  Seeing that vulnerability, Rory pushed his own worries aside – any lingering concerns he might have had about whether this TARDIS life was a lie were subsumed by Amy’s need for reassurance.

Despite everything that had happened today, she was still wary of him and how he might react to her silent declaration of love, so he reached for her.  The movement felt natural and she slipped into his arms in a way she hadn’t since they’d begun this weird new life.  Her arms folded around him and he breathed her in.  Remembering his earlier concerns, Rory smiled into her hair.  This certainly felt real enough and this Amy called back so thoroughly to the one he’d grown up with that Rory was almost certain this must be reality.

‘I love you.’  The words were natural, too.  They felt right on his tongue for the first time in … well, for the first time since they’d joined the Doctor.   For the first time since his stag party the memory of her betrayal didn’t ache in his heart.

‘I love you, too.’  It was barely a whisper, but it wrapped itself around him – somehow almost solid under the weight of all that it meant.  Finally, Amy had said the words he’d been longing to hear for years.  Rory’s arms clutched convulsively around her and he breathed out carefully, hardly daring to look at her in case he woke from this dream.  He could feel her laugh against his chest and he smiled too, releasing his grip a little.

‘Bit tight?’ he asked as casually as he could.

‘Bit tight, yeah,’ she said, chuckling again as she pulled away to look at him.  There was a subtle shift in her eyes and suddenly she was kissing him the way she had in the TARDIS control room.  There was a desperation in this embrace, and Rory knew without asking that it came from the knowledge that she had almost lost him the way she had lost so much before.   Rory poured everything he had into the kiss, trying to let Amy know without words that he would do his very best never to leave her alone again.  She seemed to understand; her body relaxed into his and he felt the desperation slip away into something else.  Amy pulled back eventually and smiled at him, the flirty smile that used to drive him wild when they first got together.

‘I’m suddenly feeling very tired, Rory.  What say we go to bed?’

Dazed, he nodded and allowed her to lead him to their bed and lost himself in just being with her.  This may have been a weird day, he may still doubt the reality he was now living, but as he let himself slip into the moment he realised that if this was a dream he didn’t want to wake up.  This life, this weird, disturbing, terrifying life was also brilliant and amazing.
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