Author's Note: I'm currently fascinated with exploring how Rory comes to know and trust the Doctor after he joins Amy and the Doctor in their travels in series 5. This little one-shot is set just after "Vampires of Venice." (It's also my first attempt at a one-shot - this seems to be a month of trying new things with my writing.) I hope you'll enjoy, and let me know if you do.
Rory was relieved to find the TARDIS kitchen on the first try. After the day he'd had –running from and fighting with vampire-fish-people – he was grateful for small favors. He thought it had to be his imagination but the rooms on the ship seemed to move. He almost mentioned it to Amy but he stopped himself; he was half afraid she'd laugh and half afraid she'd tell him it wasn't his imagination.
"So," he asked, dropping into a chair at the table and trying not to goggle at the homey kitchen, "now what?"
"Now, we have tea and jammy dodgers," Amy said. She reached into one of the cabinets – and Rory swore they were the same knotty pine kind his gran had in her kitchen – to get a white enameled teapot. It too would have fit with his gran's kitchen, as would the matching cups, saucers, creamer, and sugar dish already on the table.
"Oh…kay," Rory said. Amy glanced over her shoulder at him and her cheeky grin turned to a frown.
"Where's the Doctor?" she asked.
"In the… control room." Rory wasn't sure what to call the main room of the TARDIS.
"Well, you'd better go get him. If he gets tinkering the tea will be stone cold before he turns up." She turned back to the pot with a toss of her hair. Rory stared for a second, warring with himself. He didn't want to admit he wasn't sure he could find his way back to the control room to get the Doctor – that might bring up his conviction the rooms were shifting. He also wasn't entirely sure having tea without the Doctor was such a bad idea – it would give him a chance to talk with Amy. His train of thought was disrupted when Amy turned to frown at him.
"I… I was just going," he stammered, getting to his feet. Moving corridors suddenly seemed less nerve-wracking than angry Amy. He headed out of the kitchen and turned to the left, fervently hoping this was the correct way back to the control room and that the Doctor would be there when he arrived. What if the Time Lord headed for the kitchen on his own and the corridors shifted so that he didn't pass Rory on his way? Rory shook his head and quickened his steps.
It didn't take long for Rory to find himself at the hallway's end. He breathed a sigh of relief when he stepped out onto the upper deck of the control room. The center console was just below, down a short flight of stairs, and the Doctor was standing at it with his back to the steps. Rory started forward and was about to call out when he realized the Doctor wasn't standing so much as leaning. His head was bowed and his knees half-bent as he sagged against the console. Rory took another step forward and the grating under his foot pinged slightly. The Doctor immediately straightened up and whirled, a smile fixed on his face.
"Rory!" he cried, his voice cheerful. "Amy's sent you to fetch me for tea, hasn't she?"
"Right," Rory said, watching the Time Lord closely. The Doctor was smiling broadly but there were lines around his eyes and his movements were stiff. Rory recognized the signs – the Doctor was in pain and trying to hide it. The question was – did Rory confront him, or let it go?
Letting it go ceased to be an option a moment later. The Doctor started to bound up the steps but he only made it half-way before he paled. He caught onto the railing as his knees started to buckle and Rory hurried down to him. He reached out hesitantly, ready to put an arm around the Doctor to support him but unsure if he could do it without hurting him more.
"I'm… I'm ok," the Doctor said, drawing himself up with an effort. "Just… a rough day." He moved slowly up the rest of the steps with Rory beside him, ready to catch him if he sagged again.
"Rough day. Right," Rory muttered, shaking his head as he thought about it. The Doctor had been electrocuted, thrown to the ground by an explosion, and finished things off by climbing a bell tower in the pouring rain. Some nurse I am. I didn't even ask…
"I'm fine," the Doctor insisted. "Just… sore."
"Isn't there something you could take? Aspirin or…"
"No," the Doctor said, shaking his head. "No aspirin."
"Are you sure?"
"It'd kill me," the Doctor replied. "Most human medications would. Allergies."
"Then… something else? You've got to have a medical bay here somewhere."
"I'm sure it'll turn up when we need it."
"But… you're in pain."
"Nothing that a little tea and rest won't cure," the Doctor assured him. "Speaking of – we'd best get to the kitchen before Amy gets cross and sticks us with the washing up." He clapped Rory on the shoulder once before starting into the corridor. He still wasn't moving as easily as he normally did but he seemed stable. Rory moved after him, watching him carefully. He'd accused the Doctor of causing the people around him to take risks, but at the end of the day he and Amy were fine and it was the Doctor who was hurt. He quickened his steps to move up alongside him.
"After tea, let's find that medical bay," he said firmly. The Doctor came to a stop, shaking his head.
Rory cut him off. "I'm a nurse, remember? If I'm going to be traveling with you, I need to know what I have to work with in case someone gets hurt."
"Ok," the Doctor said, nodding. "After tea."
"Oi!" Amy's voice came from just ahead of them. "Would the two of you get in here already? The tea's going cold."
"After we do the washing up," Rory muttered.
"Right," the Doctor said quietly, giving him a rueful grin.