She's stopped counting the times she's found him sitting on his own. She'll come out of the shower, or back from the kitchen, and there he'll be, just sitting and staring. A few times she's woken up to find him lying next to her in bed, wide-awake, just gazing up at the ceiling.
Every time, she asks him if everything is all right. Sometimes she asks casually, sometimes she's flippant; sometimes she acts concerned. His response is always the same: he's fine, nothing's wrong, he's the happiest man in the world.
It's more like Amy herself than Rory to stubbornly deny feelings, so naturally she believes him at first. The smile he gives her is genuine; his mood is cheerful. What is there to worry about?
Then he starts talking to himself. He speaks in a low, quiet murmur clearly directed at no one but himself, but his face is so animated, so engaged, she instinctively looks to see if there's anyone else in the room whenever she catches him. One day, as she's coming back from a swim in the library, she manages to enter their room without his notice. He's sitting on the edge of the bed with his elbows propped on his knees, his gaze fixed ahead on nothing in particular, his mouth moving around half-whispered words. In bare feet on the plush, spongy carpet she's able to get fairly close before he notes her presence; in the meantime, she's able to snatch a thread of his one-sided conversation.
She listens for a quiet while without any idea of what he's saying. At first, she thinks this is because she's not close enough, and he's speaking too softly; then she realizes it's the words themselves she can't understand. From those she can pick out ("ergo", "amatus", "propter") she gathers he is speaking Latin.
When he hears her small gasp of surprise, he turns to her, blushing and beaming her a brilliant smile. "Amy! Sorry, I didn't hear you come in." He's startled, clearly, but recovers quickly. "Guess you just got a little preview of what I'll be like when I'm old and senile!" He laughs good-naturedly and stands to place a kiss on her cheek. He acts as if nothing is wrong, but when she tries to meet his eyes she finds him looking the other way.
"You were speaking Latin," she says, not sure what either of them should make of her statement, whether it's an accusation or a question.
"Oh, was I?" he stammers, tilting his head to the side and scrubbing his hand through his tousled hair: a sure sign that he's nervous. "Sorry about that; bad habit, I guess."
There's just a hint of guilt lingering around the edges of his carefully composed features. She tries again. "You didn't learn Latin in school," she observes. Her voice still balances between conversation and interrogation.
"Err, no," he admits, busying himself at the night table, stacking his books and rearranging her magazines.
"So why would you have a habit of speaking to yourself in Latin?"
He laughs softly, giving her a sad smile before turning back to his books. "Two thousand years, Amy," he says over his shoulder; "a two thousand year habit is hard to break."
She's still thinking this over when he crosses the room to stand in front of her.
"I'm gonna go make tea; fancy a cuppa?"
She nods before she realizes what he's said. "Yeah—yes. Tea would be lovely. Let me get dressed, and I'll join you."
That afternoon she confronts the Doctor in the console room. He's buzzing around the controls, pulling knobs and levers seemingly at random. She stalks to his side and announces: "Your translator thingy doesn't work!"
"The translation circuit? Why, what's wrong with it?" He stands in front of her, positioning his head inches from her face. "CAN YOU UNDERSTAND ME?" he shouts, putting a hand on either side of her face, "OR IS IT MOSTLY BEEPS AND WHISTLES?"
"Beeps and whistles? What? Doctor, I understand Iyou/I fine…"
"Oh—good! I was speaking Faro!si just then: lots of beeps and whistles. If you could understand that, then the translation circuit is working perfectly."
"Then why doesn't it do Latin?"
"As in Earth Latin?" Amy nods. "Of course it does Earth Latin! Why, who was speaking Latin?"
She doesn't answer him right away; she wonders if this is one of those things which married people are supposed to keep between themselves. If her husband is having a nervous breakdown, she's pretty sure the Doctor is the last person he'd want to know. In the end, she decides it's in both their best interests for her to get an answer. "Rory was," she admits. "I heard him talking to himself in Latin, and I couldn't understand a word."
The Doctor flies back into motion, hands flying up like gulls. He's ready to rattle off an explanation, when suddenly his brain catches up to his mouth; his eyes widen and he stops. "Ah," is all he says, before turning away from her and starting to fuss with some levers on the console.
"Ah?" she repeats incredulously. When he continues to ignore her, she yanks him back by his braces. "I'm getting a little tired of people around here evading my questions. I'll ask you again: why didn't the TARDIS translate what Rory was saying?"
He may have lived for 900 years and faced down the deadliest, most dangerous beings in this and several other universes, but he was still no match for an angry Amy Pond. She's standing in front of him like a barricade, holding him captive in her laser-beam gaze. One talon-like purple fingernail is pointed at his chest. His mind races to grasp the best, most probable answer he can give her, something she'll believe without question. Amy grows impatient, and begins to repeat her question through very clenched teeth: "Why…didn't…the TARDIS…translate…"
"Because he didn't want it to!" The answer bursts out of him before he can stop it, and at first, she doesn't know what to make of it.
"Who didn't want it to?" When the Doctor doesn't answer right away, she knows. "Rory? Rory doesn't want the TARDIS to translate for me?"
The Doctor nods sadly. Amy's brow is creased in confusion. "How do you know he doesn't want me to know what he's saying?"
Now that the dam has burst, he can't stop from spilling all. "It's the only possible explanation! The TARDIS translates everything instantaneously, not because she can speak every language, but because she can read thoughts and intentions. If she isn't translating something Rory says, it must be because she can read that he doesn't intend his words for anyone but himself."
When she speaks again, her voice is small and quiet: "What doesn't he want me to hear?"
The Doctor gives her a kind, sad smile and places a hand on her shoulder. "I think you should ask your husband that."
It's not as if she hasn't asked before. When you marry a man who spent two thousand years as a plastic centurion standing guard over your tomb, you're bound to be eager to hear the tale. She was deeply moved by what he'd done for her: her heart was swollen with love and pride and awe at his sacrifice. Once the excitement of getting married and running off with the Doctor wore off, she'd looked forward to hearing stories of his brave tour of duty by her side.
She's yet to hear even one of them.
When she regained the memories she lost during the reboot of the universe, one thing she was most grateful to have returned to her (besides the love of her life, her mum and dad, and her childhood imaginary friend) was the memory of Rory in full Roman armour. As handsome as he was in his wedding tuxedo, she couldn't help but wish for a red cape and bronze breastplate. She tried to get him to role-play with her a little (him as the conquering centurion, she the virgin barbarian princess), but he just laughed off her suggestion, pleading, "Can't I make love to my wife on my wedding night?" Of course, he'd never really been into those sorts of games anyway, so she didn't think much of it.
The next day, she asked him, "So what did you do in those two thousand years? I can't even imagine waiting all that time…how did you do it?"
He smiled, and kissed her, and said, "I just thought about you." His answer was sweet, and she'd take any excuse for a kiss, and who could think, anyway, with his hand where it was? The matter was dropped, for the first of many times.
Each time she asked, "What did you do?" the same answer came: "I thought about you." Each time it was sweet, but just a little bit less so. She'd spent her childhood fantasizing about Roman warriors: she'd never expected to marry one. Now that she had, she couldn't get a word out of him on the subject. Yes, it was endearing to hear that he'd spent nearly two millennia dreaming of their reunion, but he couldn't possibly have been thinking about her for each of the more than 60 billion seconds he'd spent guarding that box.
Now, those other thoughts he refused to acknowledge were intruding on their new life together. He was withdrawing more and more, though he seemed unable to admit it. She was nervous whenever they weren't together, afraid that he was off somewhere sitting by himself and brooding.
The Doctor was right: she and her husband had to talk.
He had followed her to bed, as he always did. No matter how tired he was he would never go to bed before her; not unless she threatened and insisted and pushed him down the hall with a promise she'd wake him when she turned in. She tried to remember if he'd always been this protective of her, in their life before: in the life that had been erased.
After he closes their door behind him, he turns to her with a smile: with Ithat/I smile. That sweet, contented Ihusband/I smile she's come to recognize as distinct from every other smile he's ever given her as friend, boyfriend, or fiancé. He takes her hand and leans into her for a kiss. He used to keep his eyes open, watching her, until the moment when their lips met, as if he couldn't quite trust she was there until he could feel her mouth on his. Now he stands, eyes closed, face inches away from hers and waits for her to close the distance between them.
When she presses her lips to his, she realizes that he's finally starting to trust her. The thought comes as a revelation: she'd always believed herself to be the only one who'd had to learn to trust. All that time he spent chasing her, he must have wondered what would happen if he stopped.
He deepens the kiss, running one hand through her hair, the other on her shoulder with his thumb resting over the pulse point at the base of her neck. She's so tempted to shelve her plan for this night, to give in to his hungry demands and forget about the lonely daze in which he spends his waking hours. In this moment, now, he's her Rory and he's perfect. But the ghost of the other Rory, the one who haunts the TARDIS's halls as if caught in a waking dream, is a spectre over his shoulder. She pulls away from him, ever so slightly, and his misty green eyes regard her: searching, questioning.
Her heart breaks for what she has to do—and yet, she has to do it.
"Rory," she starts cautiously, "I want to talk to you."
He's still confused, but his head is cocked to listen. "Of course. What's on your mind?"
She's still not sure of herself, and her voice is quiet and hesitant. "Actually…it's what's on your mind I wanted to talk about."
"I don't know what you mean." His words don't match the look on his face. His eyes have gone blank, and he keeps glancing over her shoulder and down at his feet.
She grabs his hand and squeezes it just a little too tightly; she's not sure if she wants to reassure him or herself. "Rory, you have to tell me what's wrong. I know you say you're fine, but then you're always lost in thought, and now you're talking to yourself—in Latin! Secret things you don't want me to know about—things that happened when I was in the Pandorica. You're not sleeping! Rory, I'm worried…"
He's quiet for a long while, and she begins to panic. She grasps his hand so tightly he flinches in pain.
"Oww!" He can't help but laugh at the look of surprise on her face. His laughter turns her worry into confusion. His face softens, and he reaches out a hand to stroke her face. "Amy…whatever happened in that time, it wasn't—well, it wasn't real. None of it! It isn't part of our lives anymore."
She doesn't follow what he's saying. "How can you say it isn't real when you can remember it?"
The clouds cover his eyes again, and he looks down at their hands clasped together. "Because what good is it remembering a life that doesn't exist anymore? When you brought everything back, you changed history; that time I spent without you never happened. Amy, you brought me back to life! You brought back the stars!" He looks at her now and smiles, but sadly.
"Yes," she says tentatively; "yes, you came back to me…"
His fingers are nervously fiddling with her wedding ring, his eyes focused on the shiny new band. Then, very quietly: "And then you remembered the Doctor…" He doesn't say anymore, but just watches her face; his hand in hers is firm and desperate.
She doesn't know what he's waiting for. Yes, she remembered the universe back into existence: she brought back the stars and the planets in the sky; she brought back her mum and dad, and Leadworth, and the man she'd promised to marry. Finally, she brought back the Doctor, her imaginary friend from childhood. What did that have to do with the memories that were haunting Rory?
When it hits her, she feels as if the breath has been knocked out of her. Her mouth parts in a gasp of surprise, and she can feel Rory's grip on her hand tighten; he raises his other hand to her arm, holding her elbow as his eyes search her face, concern and apology flickering in his gaze.
She locks her eyes to his. "You didn't remember that time until I brought the Doctor back."
"Amy, hey," he says, stroking her cheek, "hey, it's Ok…"
"No!" she cuts him off. "No, it's me! I did this to you! I had to have him—I had to have both of you! I was selfish, and now you can't forget…"
"Amy, no! Now you see why I didn't want to tell you…"
"How can you ever forgive me?" She's lost in her own thoughts now, barely registering his presence in front of her.
"Amy!" He shakes her arm to get her attention. Slowly, she turns to him. "Now, Amy, there is nothing I need to forgive you for. You brought back the universe! The universe is a big place, and someone has to look after it; who but the Doctor could do it?"
She can see the logic behind what he's saying; maybe he does believe it like he says. She nods cautiously.
He smiles at her. "Who's going to save our skins when the next batch of baddies comes to call? Who'll put the fear of God into the deadly aliens of death?"
She wants to smile along with him now; he almost has her convinced. "But the sacrifice you made…"
"I made it willingly! Amy, it was my choice, and I would make it again. I have no regrets; you shouldn't either."
She lets him lead her to the bed; they climb under the covers, and she settles down into his arms, her head on his chest. She listens to his heart beat under her ear, and marvels at the time he spent without it. Her husband is much more than flesh, but still, she's glad to have it back.
"Rory," she starts slowly, "tell me a story about when I was in the Pandorica. Tell me what happened."
"Amy," he pleads, "that life is gone, erased—it doesn't have anything to do with us anymore."
She shakes her head against his chest. "You still remember it! It still affects you. If it affects you, it affects me! Now spill!"
He laughs softly, and presses a kiss to the top of her head. "In some ways, there's not much to tell: I was rarely ever more than a few hundred feet from that box, and it isn't exactly portable. In other ways, too much happened—more than I could ever tell."
She speaks quietly now, because she's afraid of his answer: "Did you see terrible things?"
He exhales noisily, and she thinks he's going to avoid the question; but then the words start coming as if he's been rehearsing them in his head all along. Perhaps he has. "I saw the stars go out. I saw the men I thought were men, who'd been my brothers, disintegrate and turn to stone. I saw wars and plagues and disasters; emperors and kings and despots; I saw popes and prophets, and blood and death. Yes, Amy," he sighed, "I saw terrible things." He strokes her hair idly as he thinks. Finally, he adds: "I did see some wonderful things as well."
"I want you to tell me all of it," Amy insists, stroking his chest and nuzzling her face against his neck.
He laughs. "What, tonight? You want me to condense two thousand years of history into one night of pillow talk?"
"No, not tonight!" She slaps him playfully. "We have the rest of our lives, and everyday, I want to hear a little bit more."
He sighs, and rests his cheek against the top of her head. "All right," he says, "I'll do my best to tell you the whole story. You already know most of it, though: I thought about you."