It's A Pretty Big Deal (In Timelord Land)
It hit him like a metorite.
He turned around, slowly. Rory and Amy were by the console, laughing, joking, not a care in the world, and not looking at him. And Rory was smiling like he'd never seen anyone smile before.
He desperately sought a way out, but...
"Rory. Amy. Did I ever tell you about Donna Noble?"
Both humans turned to look, puzzled expressions, wondering what this was all about.
"No," Amy said. "No, who's Donna, Doctor?"
"She was a friend of mine," the Doctor said. "From a long time ago." He trailed off as time leaked into his brain. "Well, it seems like a long time ago. She was brilliant, Donna, just like both of you. Saved the world."
"Doctor, why are you telling us this?" Amy asked. "No offence, but...you just sort of dropped that in there."
"Because something awful happened to her," the Doctor said, and he looked at Amy Pond like he was seeing somebody else. Another redhead in a white wedding dress. "She didn't die. No. She just...changed, I changed her, I destroyed her. She did something to save the universe and got a bit of mein her head. The bit that isn't human."
Rory and Amy stared intently, not even blinking. They knew something big was coming, they knew him.
"I took it from her. Took almost everything else too."
"So..." Rory said, trying to follow, "what happened? She wasn't human?"
"Oh no, no, Rory, Donna Noble was never not human. But she had to forget. All the things she did, all the people she saved, they were gone from her head. She never knew me, never knew her. And it was me, Rory, Amy, who took the memories away. Because otherwise she would have died and I couldn't have..." He trailed off.
Amy looked at her husband and said, "Doctor. Why are you telling us this now?"
"Because," the Doctor said, "the human mind can't handle Time. I can. You lot can't. I had thousands of years of memories, and Donna, my Donna, my memories and hers ate her up."
"Again, Doctor," Amy said, worriedly, "why-"
"Because there's only one other human here who's holding a thousand years of memories."
Amy stopped. Stopped everything. Stopped breathing...
"Yeah," the Doctor said sadly.
Both of them looked at Rory.
"Oh," he said.
Amy stared at the Doctor, a stare the Doctor had seen once in an awful dream. "Doctor. Talk normally. Tell me. Is Rory..."
"Going to go," the Doctor whispered. "Yeah. Amy, I'm sorry." A pause. "I'm so sorry."
Amy whirled around to Rory, and then straight back to the Doctor, and she said, in a voice not hers...
"No," the Doctor said, "No." He turned to Rory, who stood there like he was stone. Rory looked at the Doctor, sort of understanding, but not accepting it at all. "Doctor, I'm fine. Honestly."
"What's Amy's middle name?"
Rory opened his mouth and suddenly stopped dead.
"But I know it," he said to his wife. "I probably knew your middle name before I knew mine."
Amy looked petrified. "Rory!"
The Doctor breathed in, touched Rory's arm. And gave a similar speech to ones he'd given already. "I...listen...you'll forget, you'll forget Amy, but you won't die. I can take you anywhere, you can still have a proper life, I'm sorry!"
"Wait. I don't want a life without Amy!" Rory said, bewildered and frightened. Amy dropped to her knees next to him.
The Doctor considered how many people had said "I don't want a life without..." and yet had done just fine anyway. He was one of those people, because right now he was thinking about how very much he didn't want a life without Rory. "Rory. Mate. Listen, mate..."
"Fix it," Amy snarled, jumping up.
And the Doctor decided to fix it. He had no idea how but the wheels were turning. For saving Rory was the most important thing in the universe, and he had to think. Oh...there'd been so many most important things in the universe, but that didn't matter, this one in this moment did.
A girl walked out of the TARDIS...
"Doctor?" Amy asked, starting to cry, but his mind was racing and he couldn't hear.
In the back of his mind there were lost chances and different paths. I think you need a doctor, he said to Rose Tyler, but he couldn't say it to Donna, she was the Doctor and already gone. And he kissed Rose and saved her life and soul...kissed Martha and made her love him forever...watched Donna Noble sort of techincally die.
A boy walked out of the TARDIS...
A kiss for Rose, a genetic transfer for Martha, life as heroes for those two, nothing for Donna. She is to me! Rory shouted. The Doctor watched Donna die in his mind, and saw Rory sit by the Pandorica, sword drawn, waiting. That boy died for him, and lived for Amy! And now...
"Doctor!" yelled Amy.
Rory had too many memories, too much time, but he wasn't a timelord, had never been a timelord, timelords don't wait...
"You're not me," the Doctor said to Rory, "You're not me, you're nothing like me, thank you for not being me."
"What?" he whispered.
"You're not a Metacrisis. You haven't got the Timelord in you that killed Donna's mind. I worked it out. Easier than I figured. I couldn't save Donna, but I think I can save you."
"Doctor..." said Rory.
The Doctor moved towards him, held his face. "You died for me once."
"I know," Rory said. "I remember..."
"That's a pretty big deal," the Doctor said. "I never thanked you..."
And he kissed him.
It lasted only a few seconds but it was enough- Rory's memories folded in on themselves and ceased to be a problem, the Doctor saw inside his friend's mind and sorted it out, everything was okay again and the Doctor realised he loved Rory Williams. Not like the human way, he'd never done that, he just...
He broke away.
"Fixed it," he said. He fell back. Amy let out a last sob and clung to Rory.
"Thank you," she whispered to the Doctor.
"S'okay," he whispered back. And he looked at them. And turned away.
"What happened?" Rory asked. His mind was returning, slowly, and he looked grateful but worried. "Doctor? I...were you kissing me?"
"No," the Doctor said, "it was a genetic transfer." And he smiled. Falsely. And felt so very human.
Rory considered this. "Felt more like a kiss."
"It doesn't matter," Amy said, "you're okay, you're okay..."
Rory hugged her back, but looked at the Doctor. The Doctor glanced away, but caught the look in his eyes. What was it, a thanks, an understanding? It was sympathetic, it was grateful, but...
"Thank you," Rory said.
"Any time, mate," the Doctor answered. And he sank to the cold floor, next to him.
"What is your middle name?"
"Well," the Doctor said, looking at him and simutaniously seeing all those other men and women who he'd loved and who'd left, "welcome back, then, Rory Cecil Williams." And humanity, the thing that made people wait two thousand years for other people, fought its way into both hearts.
He wasn't good at being really human. Rory was. Welcome back, Rory Williams! It had probably started there, with a boy willing to wait...
It was a pretty big deal, still.
It was night, or whatever passed for night in the TARDIS, and Amy came into the console room.
"It was a genetic transfer, Amy," the Doctor said to her.
Amy stopped dead. "Oh."
"Oh? Oh what? Oh, bowties are cool? Oh, I'm off to the swimming pool? Oh, I can't believe his middle name is Cecil either?"
"You're in love with him!" she said. "You are! Otherwise you wouldn't have said that soon as I came in! You would've just mucked about like normal, you wouldn't have...denied it. "
The Doctor thought about this.
"Amy, I've loved a lot of people." He looked at her, trying to work it out. "Are you...angry?
"You just saved Rory's life. No."
"Are you...Help me here, Amy, what are you?"
Amy looked him in the eye. "I don't mind."
"Yeah. I don't. Hey, things around here are...a bit complicated anyway, it was always gonna be like that. I don't mind."
The Doctor nodded, not knowing what he was really, and Amy said, "So, do they do that, timelords?"
"You know, fall in love. Because...you were never in love with me, really. Which is also okay, I just..."
"No," the Doctor confessed. He tried to figure out if he'd hurt her feelings, but didn't think so. "And yes, we do."
"Is it like, a big deal..."
"Yes," the Doctor said. "But, like I said...I've loved a lot of people, Amy."
"Are you gay?" Amy blurted out. She looked embarrassed. "It doesn't matter, I just wondered."
The Doctor hugged her. When he let her go she said, "He won't ever love you. But you know that, right?"
Amy turned to go. Then she turned around and smiled. The Doctor was pretty sure it was a geniune one. "Hey. You want to go further than a kiss, and Rory does as well...call me over." She winked and was gone.
The Doctor leaned against the ancient machine and thought.
He won't ever love you...
He buried that weird alien love of his deep in his mind, with Donna and all the rest. He wished he could wait for someone. He knew he never would.