Streaks of Orange and Dark Blue
Author's Note: Set during "Vincent and the Doctor" from Amy's POV. The Doctor asked Amy to make Vincent comfortable while he ran off in the night to seek answers in the TARDIS. Thanks to tardis-mole for beta reading. Inadvertently for Nikki. All the usual disclaimers (not mine, just fun, etc).
Amy hovered in the room, bracing herself for the Doctor jumping out at them again. After checking the doorway and seeing him head off, that was it. She was alone with Vincent van Gogh. She shouldn't be nervous, right? It was just another one of her and the Doctor's adventures. She looked back at the older man - thirty-seven, if she recalled the expert at Musée d'Orsay. Fifteen years her senior. Not that age mattered to someone like Amy Pond. Thirty-seven or nine-hundred-and-seven - she wasn't put off by older men.
She smiled at Vincent as she sat back down across from him. "What should we do now?" Maybe she could watch him paint or sketch - she did love to see the man work.
Vincent seemed distant after the Doctor took the canvas and ran off, but after a moment he said, "The Doctor mentioned something about tea? I think I'd need some right about now."
"That sounds like an excellent idea." Something to soothe both their nerves.
Once the tea had been prepared and served, the two sat across from each other in front of the fire. Vincent took one of her hands with his calloused ones, smoothing his thumb over her skin as his eyes fell onto her well-manicured nails. She realized what he was looking at and went into a mild panic. Amy herself didn't know the history of nail polish and wished Vincent would turn his attention elsewhere, back to her hair perhaps. She got her wish when he opened his mouth.
"Where'd you say you were from again?" His blue eyes met hers.
"I didn't," she leaned forward, the glow from the fire warming her skin. The Doctor had asserted himself in that conversation earlier over his (rightful but overbearing) focus on the church before she had the chance to explain that she wasn't from Holland. "I'm from Scotland."
"Scotland?" His eyebrows knit. "You don't sound Scottish."
Right. Amy glanced to the side, trying to figure out how to explain it. She herself wasn't sure of the details other than it was the doing of the TARDIS. She wasn't even aware of it most of the time, perfectly happy that she could understand the people and aliens they had met.
"I've been traveling with the Doctor for some time now. Maybe it's just starting to take its toll."
"You and the Doctor," Vincent repeats to himself before drinking some of his tea. "Are you and he...?"
"What?" Her eyes grew wide as what he was imploring clicked. "No. No no no." Amy waved off his suspicion. "We're not... we travel together, that's all."
It wasn't the first time that assumption had been made before. Not that she minded. Isabella's father in Venice had presumed they were engaged as they plotted ways to infiltrate the Calvierri school. Though... thinking back on Venice, it seemed odd that the Doctor would steal her away to a romantic city like Venice after rebuffing her advances. Was there something she missed? Some point he was trying to make about their relationship?
Vincent gave her hand a squeeze. "Are you feeling well, Amy?"
"Huh? Sorry." She shook her head, trying to shake of the weird feeling that wasn't quite deja vu. Was this what time travel did to humans? Make you feel like there was something you were supposed to remember? But it was at the tip of the brain, fleeting before it was gone. There was something missing, a void. What was she missing? "Did you say something?"
Vincent pressed his lips together in a modest smile, looking down at his tea cup in his free hand. "I said it was good that you weren't engaged to the Doctor."
"Oh," she tucked some hair behind her ear. She wasn't sure she exactly felt the same but the sentiment was very flattering. "Thank you." She grinned. "I think."
They sat quietly for a moment, looking at each other before Amy grew nervous. She admired this man as an artist and the Doctor was taking longer than even she had anticipated. She wasn't sure how long it would be until the sun rose but she knew they probably needed some rest before going after the invisible monster at the church. She just hoped the Doctor could find out more about the creature. She set aside her tea and rested her hand on top of the one that held onto her other.
"We should get you to bed."
"What about the Doctor?"
"Oh, he'll be fine." At least, she assumed so. A knot of worry tightened in her stomach the longer the Doctor was gone, never quite at ease when he was away from her longer than he promised. She learned to trust his judgment after the Weeping Angels, but that didn't mean she couldn't worry about him. "Besides, I promised to take care of you. You should get your rest."
"I don't know if I'll ever sleep after tonight," Vincent started.
"Still, you should try. We've got a big day tomorrow. I could use some shut eye myself." She tried to appeal to him that way. She wasn't sure exactly where she'd rest but now that the Doctor and his impossible train of thought was out of the room, she could afford some sleep.
That was when Vincent surprised her. "Will you keep me company?"
Amy hesitated, looking at him with wide eyes. There were many ways a twenty-first century girl like herself could take that request from a man. But he looked tired and not in the way that sleep could cure. He looked especially lonely, the light from the fire casting a warm glow. Some part of her knew she shouldn't, that it was uncharted territory but another part of her answered.
"Yeah, of course."
"It's just... I don't have too many people who'll listen to me."
She smiled fondly as she recalled earlier, when he was explaining the colors and shapes to the Doctor as she slipped out to admire the paintings hanging from the clothesline. Before the invisible monster had snuck up on her and ruined the evening for all three of them. Though the Doctor had imposed their stay on Vincent, it seemed like the artist enjoyed the rare company. Rare and strange company, indeed. Still, she thought back to her childhood, when her aunt made her go to all those psychiatrists and everyone in her school thought she was mad. There was some cathartic justice now that she was traveling with the man they all thought she had made up. What a world of difference it would make if someone would have listened.
"I know what you mean."
She followed after Vincent to his bedroom, where she found her bed in Leadworth dwarfed his. As he removed some external layers of clothing, placing it on the chair next to his bed, she adverted her eyes to the window. She stepped closer, surveying the scene for any sign of the monster or the Doctor. Nothing. Just the sound of Vincent climbing into his bed. She glanced back at him before she kicked off her boots next and softly stepped over to the bed. He had made a spot next to him, his back pressed against the wall to allow for her slender frame.
Really, she probably shouldn't be crawling into bed with Vincent van Gogh. She could just picture the Doctor's reaction to such interference. There was absolutely no need for her to be there with him - no crying children, no kingdom to save, no secret alien invasion (so they thought). Just a man - a scared man, a mad man - who wanted her company. The Doctor asked for her to keep him comfortable. He wanted her nearby. It was the least she could do.
She stretched her long legs out, still in her tights as Vincent tossed some blankets over her. She stayed on her back, carefully wringing her hair away from him to spare the man from getting attacked by it. As her head hit the pillow she shared with him, she could already feel the weight of exhaustion overcoming her. It had been a long day and, as typical with the Doctor, she spent it mostly on her feet. Paris seemed forever ago as well as her last good sleep before that. Surely if the Doctor or monster came back before sunrise, they'd make a lot of noise to wake them up.
"What's your name?"
Her eyes fluttered open briefly as she turned her head against the pillow, her hazel eyes meeting his icy blue ones across the space between them. She didn't answer right away, not out of self-preservation but out of the tenderness in his voice. She relished the sound of his voice. She licked her lips before she answered.
"Amy. Amy Pond."
"Pond..." he repeated softly and she felt him touch her hair.
He was somewhere else, most likely making one of his color analogies that she'd be enraptured to hear... but sleep was calling her.
She sighed as she shifted on the mattress to get comfortable. She wanted to make sure her skirt stayed properly over her hips but was secretly glad Vincent had thought to cover her up.
"Are you going to watch me fall asleep?"
There was a pause before he answered. "Does that bother you?"
She shook her head slightly, already going under.
She was surprised she fell asleep at all. The sunlight began to filter into Vincent's modest bedroom, his arm draped across her stomach. Amy stayed at Vincent's side, laying perfectly still as she listened to the outside. Birds began to chirp and there was the low rustle of plants. But Amy wasn't listening for those things. No monster but more concerning, no Doctor. This was very bad. She should get up and go after the lead, right? Secondarily, her mind went to protecting the semi-muscular ginger man next to her. The Doctor did leave in her in charge of his well-being. She would have to-
Interrupting her thoughts was the sonorous snores of Vincent van Gogh.
That must've been what woke her up, she reasoned, flinching at the volume. Right. Her back was starting to ache from not having moved during the few hours of sleep she had managed to steal. This was her just reward for playing babysitter, was it? She secretly cursed the Doctor for not returning before her back aches set in.
She gently placed her hand on his arm and slowly moved it to his side. As she carefully removed herself from his bed, he shifted and she was surprised to find his eyes watching her while she pulled herself together. She stopped looking for her other boot. "What's wrong?"
"You were dreaming," he said as he readjusted his head on the pillow so that he could keep an eye on her.
Dread began to seep into her thoughts. Still, she kept a friendly face. "Yeah? Anything good? Or something absolutely embarrassing?"
But when he purposefully didn't answer her, her fears grew from embarrassment to something darker. She didn't remember dreaming, couldn't recall what had accidentally escaped her lips as she slept. There were so many frightening things on this journey with the Doctor, so many very personal, very private things. She couldn't even voice them out loud to anyone other than the Doctor. She had been scared and the Doctor had pulled her through. Everything had worked itself out. But Vincent looked worried and she was determined to have none of that, if only for her sake.
She sat gently on the edge of the bed and touched his arm. "I'm going to go find the Doctor. I'll be back soon. We'll be back soon. Go back to sleep." He'll need his rest, if Amy's experience helping the Doctor was any indication. Any sleep she could get was a blessing but she wouldn't trade the sleepless adventures for anything.
Impulsively, she leaned forward and pressed a chaste kiss to his forehead. He reached up, tentatively resting a hand at her waist as she loomed over him. "Don't go," he whispered, striking her with the simplicity of his request.
There was a monster lurking about that only he could see and she was time traveling with an alien who hadn't made it back by morning. But Vincent wanted her to stay with him. It left a strange but oddly familiar taste in her mouth, wanting to give into this humble man's requests to keep her but she was itching to find the Doctor.
"I promise I'll come back. You don't have to worry about me," she flashed him a smile before she scooped her boots from next to his bed and headed over to a chair across the room. She slid them on quickly and left his bedroom, heading to where she left her coat and scarf in the main house.
Before van Gogh's house was out of view behind her, she looked back. She hoped he would be okay, that he'd fall back asleep and there would be no surprise monster attack before she could round up the Doctor. Taking a deep breath, she headed down the alley and prayed she could remember the way back to the TARDIS.