Author's Note: It was supposed to be a short little thing, and it came out a lot more angsty than I had intended. It also sort of grew longer and darker…oh well, it was a story, and you know how stories sort of write themselves. Well, I don't own anything, and with the disclaimer over, no reason for me to ramble on, eh?


He's smiling when he asks Rory the next coordinates, and smiles even broader when Rory replies, "It's Amy's choice." After all, he knows from experience that smiles are the best way to hide how upset he is. Smiles and going a million miles an hour with his voice, his motions, his train of through. That's exactly what he does as he begins to punch in coordinates, still grinning like a maniac.

It's only when they've both decided to get some real sleep, hopefully some dreamless sleep, that he pulls the Tardis into standby mode (he really can't drive in this sort of state; it's hard enough with his full, undivided attention) and drops his face into his hands. He knows exactly where that piece of pollen got 'the Dream Lord' from; he's feeling plenty of self-loathing now, and there's a lot more where it came from.

Once, a long time ago, when he was young and a touch more naïve and the universe was vast and unknown—it still is—he considered himself a hero of sorts. He thought he was unselfish. He could romp around and save planets, galaxies, again and again, show humans the glory of the universe, and do some good.

Then it slowly occurred to him that he wasn't making a difference. He was becoming old, and tired, worn thin, but the universe kept on spinning. The evil kept on coming back. It always came back, even when he had lost everything, forcing him to sacrifice even more: the people whom he cared about. With the weight of his species, his planet, the whole universe on his shoulders, everything lost its sparkle.

Then she came along—his Rose. She had shown him the light again, shown him the goodness in himself. While she stared at all the glories of the universe, he stared at her, drinking in her reaction.

Rose had been a sweet love, an easy love, an unconditional love. He just wanted her to be happy. It was enough for her to have his hearts. He didn't mind Mickey on the ship, or her flirting with Jack. To be in her presence was gift enough. She didn't have to choose.

The thing that scares him so much is that the Dream Lord—the manifestation of his deepest and most hidden desires, buried under layers of knowledge and quirks and conscience—the Dream Lord wanted to make Amy choose. It wasn't enough to simply be around Amelia Pond, no, deep underneath, he wanted to be the only one with her.


His head whips up, and he tries to control his expression, but he knows he isn't fast enough. He knows she sees some of the turmoil going on inside his head; he only hopes that she doesn't see the desire.

She's holding two mugs, and hands him one, before snuggling down to sit next to him. "Couldn't sleep, and I heard some noises from in here, so I brought you some tea."

He scoots away from her, but turns to face her (to not hurt her feelings). "Do not lie to me, Pond. You don't randomly make two cups of tea when you wake up in the middle of the night. One, believable, two, questionably suspicious. No, I think that you came here because after the whole psychic pollen nightmare problem you didn't want to be alone, and really, I can't blame you. So need someone to talk to, Pond? Because I am here, and I'm not going anywhere." He pauses, thinking of the fate of her last four psychiatrists. "Just as long as you promise not to bite me."

"You're wrong." She swallows, as if it's hard for her to admit the next thing. "I came to check on you. I was worried about you. You never answered me, when I told you everything that Dream Lord said wasn't true."

He doesn't say anything, doesn't want to ruin the moment, but at the same time, they are straying into dangerous territory here.

"You know I—" She stops, biting her tongue. "I would never give up living in the Tardis for a normal life, you know? Especially not with Rory here too. I have no reason not to stay. I'm trying to say that I would have picked—"

A finger on her lip stops her from continuing.

He is not the Dream Lord. If he loves her—and he doesn't even want to think about that, even though he knows, underneath, that he has loved her since the moment he set eyes on her, as a brave, stubborn child who could dream, and now this beautiful young woman she has become—but if he cares about her at all, he will not burden her with his affections. He will not make her choose.

"Thank you, Amy. You're the best friend a bloke could as for."

So she smiles and they drink their tea together, but all the time he's wondering, worrying that he made the wrong choice. He never truly got to tell Rose how much he loved her, and he cannot miss that chance with Amy.

Then the tea is done, and she's wandering back off to bed, and he's escaped really having to make a definite decision, the same way that Rory's 'death' chose for her. But he knows that one day, he'll have to make peace with the warring sides of him: the altruistic, unselfish, wandering hero, with his cold, hardened hearts, or the man who desperately someone to love him, someone to share his hearts with.

Doctor's choice.