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, Ambrose
Word Count: 1431 this chapter
Summary: The story of Rory's life, from meeting Amy to death.
This Chapter: During The Hungry Earth, Rory is faced with making his little band 'the best of humanity' but one of them isn't playing ball
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.

A roaring sounded in Rory’s ears as he took in what The Doctor was saying.  Amy was gone.  How could she be gone?  He had only just discovered the joys of being with an Amy who loved him and wasn’t afraid to show it.  An Amy who would kiss him at odd points just because she could.  An Amy who would whisper, ‘I love you’ to him, perhaps a little self-consciously still, but she did it.  How could he have lost Amy?   How could she have fallen through some crack in the earth?  How?  It made no sense.  Rory stopped walking and demanded for the Doctor to fix it, to make it right.  But deep inside Rory cynically believed he would never make it right.  The Doctor relied too much on luck – luck that he defeated the Dream Lord, luck that he got them out of the fish-peoples’ clutches.  Too much luck.  And now the luck had run sour and Amy was missing.  Amy, his Amy, had been swallowed by the earth.  As his thoughts started to cycle round again, Rory could feel the beginnings of panic welling up.  Then the Doctor spoke.

‘I need you alongside me.’  It was the one thing this man could have said to pull Rory out of the spiral the news had sent him into.  There was only one way to bring Amy back – Rory had to trust the Doctor.  The man who had dragged them here with his incompetent flying was his one chance to save her.  He sighed.  He also knew he did need to be alongside the Doctor.  There was no way the Doctor knew Amy as well as Rory did; he would have more background on her, more understanding of who she was and what she might do.

What she might do, Rory realised with an internal groan, was get herself into as much trouble as she possibly could.  Reckless, mad Amy would never stay still waiting for her men to come find her.  She would get herself out even if it meant getting into more trouble than staying put.  Usually he loved that about her – she was the fire to his earth, and it electrified him – but today it terrified him.  What was below the ground?  What horrors could she be getting herself tangled up in?  Trying to push down the panic that threatened to rise again, Rory followed the Doctor.

It got worse when the Doctor blithely put Rory in charge of the small band of humans left above ground.  He’d never enjoyed being ‘the boss,’ even during those times when he knew he would do a better job than the actual boss (a memory of the stubborn Dr Ramsden flitted through his mind).  Being boss came with responsibilities that sat ill on his shoulders – like ordering people around.  Rory had always felt more comfortable in the support position, the place where you could take someone’s ideas and make them reality but didn’t have to be the one to have, or worse have to enforce, the ideas.  He didn’t like being the one at whom the buck stopped; having someone up the line to send problems to was infinitely better than being the one to deal with those problems.

Panic rose even more in his heart as the Doctor took Nasreen and headed off with her.  Rory’s remaining troops were argumentative and headstrong.  They were exactly the type of people he’d always most hated being in charge of – ones who were absolutely sure they were right and would attempt to bully him into doing what they wanted.  Well, to be fair, Tony wasn’t quite so bad except when he was arguing with his daughter.  But Ambrose … she was difficult.  Rory had seen her be difficult for the Doctor and she was even worse now – resentful that he was in charge and infuriated that Rory had misled her over his role as policeman.

He chewed his lip, worried about how this would play out.  ‘No-one dies today’ the Doctor had said, but Ambrose had murder in her heart.  Rory was worried that she would do something stupid.  Did he understand her point of view?  Of course.  His heart bounded with fear every time he allowed himself to think of Amy, buried underground, every time he thought of what might be happening to her.  However, he held himself together, refusing to allow his anxieties to overcome his reason.  But Ambrose was so clearly poised on the edge of reason that she had become a loose cannon.  There was no way to predict what she might do or how she might act.  And that made her very dangerous to Rory’s given job.

To save Amy he had to keep Alaya safe.  To keep Alaya safe he needed to keep Ambrose under control.  To keep Ambrose under control … well, there was the rub.  How was he going to able to keep her controlled?  His previous attempt to reason with her had failed, he could see it in her eyes.  He resolved to try once more.

‘Ambrose,’ he said diffidently when Tony had left the room for a moment.  ‘Ambrose, you know the Doctor will save everyone, right?’

She was shaking, her voice strained and her eyes moist.  ‘How can you know that?  You can’t know what will happen.’

‘I know the Doctor.  I’ve seen him before – he talks to people, gets them to change their minds.  Look.  We just need to let him try; all we need to do is keep Alaya alive.  Just for a bit.  That’s not so hard, right?’

She shook her head.  ‘They kidnapped my son!  They have my husband!  How can you say we should let this one be?  She might know something, something which could help.’

Rory looked down at his hands.  This wasn’t going well – there was a wild desperation in her eyes, she was fiercer and more distraught than she had been last time he’d tried to talk to her, and his usual nurse’s tricks to get patients at ease weren’t getting through to her.

Taking a deep breath, Rory tried again.

‘Just for a bit.  Then, if it doesn’t work, we can just … just talk to her then.’

‘But don’t you see – we’re wasting time!  My family is down there!  They could be dying while we sit here doing nothing!’  Her voice was becoming anguished and Rory winced.  It seemed like it might be better to let her be.   Talking to her was just making her more anxious.

‘My fiancée is down there, too.  I’m worried too, but I trust the Doctor; he’ll sort it out.’  Rory’s heart twisted in desperate fear as he said it, but it was true.  He had to trust the Doctor and he had never failed them in the big things before.  Swallowing, he looked at Ambrose again.

She shook her head, obviously unwilling to accept his analysis.

He held his hand on her shoulder briefly, trying to send a message of comfort to her before releasing her and leaving the room.  He hoped she would calm down a little if left to her own thoughts.

Outside, he paced.  Things were falling apart.  He had one job to do, one simple job, and he was failing.  His breath came in ever-smaller gasps as he could feel panic gripping his chest.

Get a grip, Rory, he admonished himself.  You need to be calm right now.

He stopped pacing, and forced himself to take one deep breath, then pulled himself together.  The Doctor had left him in charge for a reason.  He clearly had faith that Rory could do this, and if the Doctor believed that, then Rory would do his very best to live up to it.  All he could do, Rory thought, was try to keep his small band together.  If he could just keep them from killing either themselves or Alaya he could pull this off.  Be the very best of humanity – they could do that, right?

He forced himself inside and found Tony, ill and struggling for breath.  Frustrated, Rory said, ‘I’m a nurse.  You should have told me.’  Why were none of his little band doing the sensible thing?  As he bent to tend to Tony he heard an agonised screaming from Alaya’s cell and he turned to run in that direction.  Please, he thought, please don’t let them have stuffed this up.

But as he ran, he knew.  This wasn’t good.  This was, in fact, possibly disastrous.  Amy! His mind screamed as he entered the room and saw what Ambrose had done.
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