AN: Woo, here I am, fourth chapter in two days! I really need to do my maths work, and my work log, and my screnzy script, but I literally cannot stop writing this. Enjoy! ^^
Disclaimer: All rights belong to the BBC. This is totally not-for-money. I don't own Doctor Who.
Rory struggled to wake, his mind dulled by sleep but already aware of a change in the bed. As his eyes blinked open a few times, he caught the half-open door that was letting in a pool of early sunlight. Suddenly confused, he looked around properly.
Amy was now curled up beside him, fully dressed, her head buried in the curve between his neck and shoulders, her arms loosely draped over his chest. He reached out to stroke back a curl of hair plastered to her streaked cheek; she'd been crying.
It was early, Rory realised, earlier than he was used to waking up, and Amy must have woken up outside and crawled into bed beside him even earlier. Well, he wasn't surprised; the couple of times he camped out with the scouts, they'd all been up at the crack of dawn, unaccustomed to the bright natural light and chorus of birdsong.
But they generally hadn't woken up crying.
Rory lay back, staring up at the ceiling, waiting for his wife to wake up and tell him why.
It felt like hours later, but it was probably closer to minutes. Finally, Amy stirred. Her limbs stretched and creased, her pulse quickened and her eyes fluttered open. All at once she was in a panic, sitting bolt upright and looking around in confusion.
"Amy?" Rory asked gently, and she whirled around to face him. He didn't miss the confused disappointment as she tried to place his face, or the spasm of guilt that crossed her features in the instant she knew. Still, she was smiling quickly enough, leaning over to give him a soft kiss before wrapping her arms around him and pulling him close.
"Never," she sighed into his neck. "Let me sleep outside again. No one told me how bloody loud those birds can be."
He chuckled, glad the moment had passed, and held her tight.
"Did you get any sleep at all?"
"Oh, sure, I think," she giggled. "If you count being stung to death by a million insects as restful sleep, that is."
"Are you hurt?" Rory asked, his brow creasing in worry.
"No, no. Just a bit shook up. I don't think they were really the stinging kinds of insects. I just feel a bit itchy, that's all."
Rory rubbed his hands over her neck, her back. They felt smooth, unharmed and blemish-free as always. He didn't ask where the insects had stung her, or where the itch was worst.
"Amy, I did tell you," he began, but had to grin when he saw her roll her eyes at him. "But I guess you've at least tried it once now, right?"
"What?" Almost indistinguishably, her voice rose a couple of cadences. "What do you mean?
"Sleeping outside," he commented lightly. "You know, the whole camping-out thing. Get it out of your system."
"Oh! Right! Yeah, sorry, dozy moment. I did tell you I didn't sleep much. And," she continued, "When I did get some sleep it wasn't exactly restful."
"Nightmares?" Rory pulled her close for a hug. They almost never talked about it – to talk about it would make it real, make it tangible – but he knew she'd been suffering almost as badly as he'd been. Plastic Romans. Exploding suns. A starless sky. A world without the Doctor.
The Universe – or whichever Universe they'd been in –hadn't been kind to Rory and Amy, and they were still feeling the aftermath.
"No, not... Not those," Amy replied eventually. "They've kind of gone away by now. I was just – I mean, I can't even really remember what I dreamed about. It wasn't nice, anyway."
"Okay," he said softly. "Well, you're here now, yeah? You're fine. Want to try and sleep some more?"
"No, I don't think I could, anymore," Amy said. "It's too bright, anyway."
"Sure, that's good. I mean, yeah. Fine." Rory knew he was babbling, so he stopped, his ears lightly pink, and Amy couldn't help but giggle. They both lay back then, arms curled around each other. They'd developed a sort of shorthand with each other – an intimacy that seemed to react on thought rather than touch, and certainly without the need for any words. Amy stroked his hair, Rory cradled her hands in his own; both of them lost in wandering thoughts and daydreams.
Both of them so relaxed, clinging on to this hushed early morning peace.
Ostensibly focused on her hands, he shot her a sideways glance. She still didn't know, even now, after everything, how long he'd been watching her. How well-practised he'd become in reading her features. So she couldn't have known how much it hurt, seeing her like this and not knowing why. So close, so intimate, and so very far away.
The hush, inevitably, couldn't last. Soon, the village began to wake; sounds of sleepy conversations, sizzling breakfasts and gushing showers stirred the breeze. Amy, now tracing delicate patterns over Rory's chest, pretended not to notice, and he was happy to stay where he was. Every now and again they would make eye contact, and in each of those looks something passed, unsaid, between them; it was in their fleeting smiles, in the creases that temporarily clouded their foreheads, in the beginnings of a glisten in their eyes.
I'm sorry - I know - You know how sorry I am - I know - Please believe me - I do, I believe you, I forgive you. Let's forget.
In truth, Rory had no idea why Amy was even apologising. Of course his paranoid mind had leapt straight to the worst, the obvious, conclusion, and he dismissed it, but he forced himself not to look deeper than that. If they were going to have any sort of life right now, he was going to have to forget hearing these unsaid sorrys.
So long as he knew Amy wasn't oblivious, so long as he knew that she knew how much effort it was costing him, so long as he could see that she didn't want to hurt him, he could live with it. Someday, they were going to have to talk about this. They would sit down, and decide when and how they were going to settle, and work out between them how married life would work.
Rory wasn't a complete fool; he knew he was being a little too lax, that he was probably making that eventual discussion harder than it could otherwise be. But for now, he just needed to know she was here. That she loved him, more than anyone else.
This life, this prolonged holiday onboard the TARDIS, was exactly that; a holiday. A bit of a breather, for both of them, where the normal balance of marriage didn't quite apply, at least not yet. Rory, lying there as Amy cuddled and kissed him too softly, too sweetly, knew what this decision to wait meant. It meant that he was, in effect, giving her up to adventure, until she was good and ready to come home with him. To start a home with him, and stay there.
He could wait; he was, after all, already well-practised in waiting for her.
AN: We're back in Rory's head, and we all know what that means... AAAANGST. Okay, to be honest they're all quite fraught ight now. =D But don't worry, we're switching to another POV soon. She's less angsty, more...actually, scratch that. That damaged little mind is the angstiest of them all.
AN2: And with that particularly angst-ridden AN, I feel like a bit of a fraud. Because I've just realised we need at least one more cahpter where nothing really happens before I can let this plot keep going. SORRY! YOU KNOW YOU LOVE ME! X O X O!
AN3:... Really, Laura, really? Gossip Girl references in Doctor Who fanfiction? How much more confused about its identity can your little brain get?
AN4: 3 Author Notes. Now 4. If I don't watch it they'll begin to outweigh the fic. Oops.
AN5: Sorry sorry sorry! But I forgot to say, as always, thank you to my loverly reviewers. And do let me know what you think of this chapter, and where you think this story might end up going. :D