force from the world a patient smile;

She hates and loves this version of him – depending on the when. She sees the suspicion, the judgement, and the clear and present worry when he watches her. It's not difficult – to his credit, he does nothing to hide it.

But she wonders if he knows, really and truly knows what the sight of it does to her. Carves her hollow, and makes her feel nothing but a vast, aching emptiness within.

Early is his timeline (late in hers) she spends more and more time, curled around her well worn diary, thumbing through pages with a constant, clawing panic as she reads and re-reads the words.

Time can be rewritten.

She's asked him once – what had made him fall in love with her? The thing of it was, she could never answer him when he turned the question back on her, evasive as ever. Honestly she'd loved him as soon as she met him. He'd looked at her – and oh the look in his eyes as he looked at her – how could she ever not love him? She told him that and he simply smiled, the corner of his mouth tugging up slowly as he pushed his fingers into her hair and his mouth pressed against her temple softly. He wound curls around his fingers and whispered about spoilers.

He never told her – what she did, what she said, what about her had finally won him over. And with each and every encounter with this oh so young version of him, she feels her anxiety rise. Her throat closes and she spends inordinate amounts of time, flipping and skimming through the pages of their combined lives. Because nothing was set in stone, time could be re-written (she would know, they've done it time and time again) and what if whatever that quintessential moment was – what if she didn't accomplish it?

The mere thought seizes the breath in her lungs, makes her reach into her bag, curl her fingers around the soft leather of the diary cover as she forces herself to concentrate on her breathing.

In and out. Out in. In out. Out in.

The panic darkens the edge of her vision, because it is a real fear, a plausible fear that grows a little more each time he stands in front of her and peers at her like she is a stranger. Which she is. In her memories though, this face has loved her, which was no guarantee that he would. She was a time-traveller. Would she still remember a life that would not be, if she somehow did or didn't do something to make it occur?

Or would she just forget, as she was meant to?

Her fingers trace the embossed squares on the front of her book as she stares down at it, her hopes and fears all wrapped up in worn cerulean. She thinks she would remember. Because she remembered before when the entire universe was meant to forget. She had remembered. Had reminded Amy and Rory, but mostly Amy – the girl she had needed to remember him back into existence.

There were certain spots, certain pages that her diary would naturally open to. Certain memories (or stories, depending on when you were looking) that were most precious to her. She suspects that they wouldn't be the ones he would expect. They're not the romantic memories (well not all of them) but the memories of what he would (will) probably call the darkest days. But it had been (will be) her. And him. And the exhilaration of saving the day, of conversations half unspoken, of understanding beyond measure. They work well together. And she loved those days of racings hearts and kisses that were quick and brutal, caught in between lasers and explosions and him laughing and talking and talking the problem out. Those were her favourite images of him – pacing and hands flailing as he worked whatever problem out as he walked with occasional input from her at just the right moments. It was a verbal dance, auditory foreplay for them, and she knew just how he moved, just when to speak, just when to fall silent.

She wonders if, one day, after her story is over – will he finally read this book, over and over, the way she has? She's always written the entries under the assumption he would, but that never stops her from smudging her pain across the page in pencil, repeated lines and a half-drawn image of how empty his eyes look when he looks at her now. In there, between well-loved covers, she will always give him the truth. He deserves no less.

Out here she bluffs, flirts and tosses inside jokes at him that he doesn't know yet. She does this because he did it to her, once.(Or did he do it to her because she did it to him? The temporal mechanics of their relationship are confusing, but she likes that. Loves it, because they are a circle – never-ending, constantly looping, a catch-22 of love. She feels like, in this small way – they will never end.) She laughs and smiles and never lets him see just how difficult this is. She does for him what he did for her, but she feels herself slipping every now and then, and she knows he is brilliant enough to figure it out if she's not careful.

Or was the figuring it out part of the process?

It's frustrating, and in the moment she has no idea what comes after, only what came before. And she is scared. She's not afraid – not of anything, but he is (was, will be) her life and she thinks she is more anxious about losing that than she has been of anything else in her life.

She flips through the pages, fingers carefully hovering over the pencilled in words (ink seems too indelible, and if there is one thing they are not – it is that. They erase and change and re-write, aching for perfection. She wonders if they ever achieved it, would the circle end? She hopes there are always, always flaws in their story.) so as not to smudge them more than they already are. She searches for a familiar story – one of long fingers twisted in her hair, bowties undone and the soft fabric wrapped around willing wrists.

She loves and hates this version of him. Because he was the one who did fall in love with her, but he is also the one who forgets her, a little more at a time.