"Amy, I'm sorry."
But he's not just sorry, he's beside himself because it's his fault again that someone is dead and he doesn't know how much longer he can do this and this time it's not just going to affect him but Amy too, his wonderful, brilliant, beautiful –
No, he can't think like that anymore (not that he allowed himself much before) because Rory is gone and he can't do that to him. He swears to himself that he'll look after Amy especially for Rory, bumbling, big nosed Rory, who he never appreciated as much as he should have.
He can't get the image of her face out of his head and the way she begged him "don't tell me its okay, you have to make it okay!" and the worst thing is she can't even remember Rory but – why can he?
His head hurts and he can't work out why but Amy's smiling at him expectantly and how can he even go on letting this get to him when he's got to protect her from this and from the crack in her wall and once, just once it would be nice if he could have a companion who somehow didn't bring about some type of universal crisis!
So they're off again and it's raining on the next planet and god she looks beautiful in the rain, the way her scarlet hair darkens and sticks to her face and she can't stop laughing and spinning around like she's never done anything like this before and she grabs his hand and makes him spin around too and for a moment it's just him and her, the time lord and the girl who waited, spinning around like there's nothing else that matters in the entire world.
And to her, there isn't.
Sometimes he feels it's as if she knows there's someone missing but that's impossible, of course, because he was wiped from time, not just from existence and he's never coming back and she is never remembering.
But he could swear he catches her, eyes wide with excitement, turning her head to tell someone about what they're doing next, before she catches herself and a bemused look crosses her face and she turns back to him.
And the trust in her eyes makes both his hearts ache and he hears the echo of Rory's voice in his head and god he wants to scream because how can this be real, how can he have allowed this to happen to her, Amelia Pond, the girl he –
He bites his lip and holds his tongue and tries not to remember that the only reason Amy was ever going to go home was because that was where Rory was waiting.
He realizes it's because Rory wasn't from his timeline. Didn't he tell Amy that? That's why she would forget Rory but not the clerics. The crushing weight that falls on top of him is impossible to hide and he locks himself away, deep in the TARDIS for a few hours and sits on the edge of his bed and stares at the floor, covered in relics and memories of his past generations and the people he's known. And sitting on top of that bookcase he picked up in the planets of Dundeylion years ago is Amy Pond's engagement ring. He can't help but feel the slightest, tiniest bit jealous that she cand just forget about Rory's death. Sometimes he wishes he could just forget it all. I'd love to forget it all. Every last bit of it. But I don't. Not ever.
His eyes well up but he won't let himself cry. Crying has never done him any good and it isn't about to start now. He clenches his fists and takes a deep breath in, standing up and barrelling back to the centre of the TARDIS where Amy is sitting on the steps, playing with some object he hadn't gotten round to fixing yet and he smiles at the soft indent above her nose as she screws it up in an attempt to understand it.
She tells him she thinks it's broken and he bounds over with a flourish and their hands brush as he takes it from her but he ignores the tingling sensation that runs up through his arm and pulls out his screwdriver, points it at the contraption. It lights up and Amy cheers and her happiness is genuine.
He almost loses her again when she's kidnapped and he's knocked out, something that seems to be happening a lot to this regeneration. As soon as he wakes up, all he can feel inside him is the burning despair. He has to get her back. For Rory. But something tells him that it's just as much for his self.
He eventually does of course and she catapults into his arms and he hugs her so tight she can barely breath but she hugs him back just as fierce and he buries his head in her hair and mumbles things she can't hear but the sound of his voice in her ear is comforting enough for her not to ask. He locks the door tightly behind them in the TARDIS and watches her dance around the console room, still asking him what all the buttons do. He can't help but oblige her, just like he always does and more and more he can feel himself falling in love with Amy Pond and more and more he can feel the guilt building inside him.
She belongs to Rory. You killed him. And now you want his fiancé, too?
His mind was so loud while she was sleeping, he could hardly bare it. He padded down the corridors to her room and hovered outside the door for a while, wondering if he should go in and wake her and tell her it was daytime (she couldn't tell on the TARDIS and relied on him to give her some kind of idea) but he knew humans needed much more sleep than time lords did.
He finds himself knocking gently and creeping in because he can't go back to that empty, silent control room alone again and he leans back against the door, watching her sleep. She's so peaceful when she's unconscious – he allows himself a smile and listens to the sound of her breathing, matching his own to hers, so he hears exactly the moment she stops her rhythmic intake and expulsion of breath and begins to sob. He darts silently to her bedside and crouches down beside her. Her face is tear stained but she's still asleep. He gently runs his thumb along her face, catching her tears and wiping them away. He strokes her hair softly and hums to her an ancient Gallifrayan song that was used to sooth the children of his long gone race to sleep. Once she has calmed and quietened, he slides back through the door and curls up against the wall in the consol room, knees against his chest, and hums the lullaby to himself instead.
"Do you ever feel like – there's someone missing?"
The words take him by surprise but he quickly rearranges his face and says carefully "what do you mean?"
"I don't know" Amy says, looking down at her legs, as they hung over the edge of the TARDIS doorway, the two of them floating through space "sometimes, I just think... it doesn't matter." She grins at him "it just must be all this time I'm spending with you. It's driving me a little crazy."
His lips turn up into a forced smile as she nudges her shoulder into him and laughs, her hair falling in front of her face.
"Do you ever get tired of it?"
"Of what?" he says quietly, staring out at nothing.
"This. All this." She motions out to everything before them. "I don't imagine how anybody could."
"It's not always fun, Amy" and his voice sounds suddenly old and ancient with grief and she turns to look at him but he is already on his feet and extending a hand.
"So, where to next?"
They're running hand in hand from the Sypiglonian's when she pushes him up against a wall and flattens her body next to his.
She assures him they'll be fine and sure enough, the creatures run straight past them and she says it's because they can't see out of the corners of their eyes and he stares at her, amazed, and reaches out suddenly and wraps a strong arm around her waist, pulling her closer to him until their bodies bang together and his lips hit hers. Her eyes widen in shock – didn't he push her away before? – but she kisses him back, tenderly this time, placing a hand either side of his face before snaking her fingers round to tangle in his hair. And then he remembers who he is and where they are and Rory died for him! And he pulls away, horrified with himself and turns away from her and tears away to the TARDIS and fights the urge to cry until there's no energy left in him.
She's left confused, hurt and defenceless but he goes back for her, moments later and she doesn't know what to do but he pulls her to him and holds her close and whispers that he's sorry so many times the words begin to lose all meaning and he knows that he can never kiss her again and she thinks he apologizes because he ran away, but if only she knew.