Disclaimer: I don't own what you recognise; the drill should be familiar to you by now

Feedback: I'd appreciate it; I'm trying to do something a bit different here

AN: A short chapter, but I'm hoping for a longer one up next

The History of Paradox

Sitting at her desk going over her history homework- the Doctor had claimed that he had something to work on back at his house, and Aunt Sharon was home this week anyway-, Amy was amazed at how difficult it was to stick to the facts these days.

She'd always found history interesting in the past- although she had these vague memories of sometimes feeling frustrated in class, as though something had said something she couldn't quite believe-, but now that the Doctor was there to give her new insight into everything she was looking at, it was really far more interesting.

Admittedly, she had to be careful what she put down at times- she couldn't exactly say that the Battle of Hastings had nearly turned out a victory for King Harold because a time-travelling alien had tried to destroy the Viking fleet before Harold could fight them-, but that still left her with some broad insight into a variety of topics that she could write about.

Not only was she able to get some interesting insight into what made some historical characters tick- she had particularly enjoyed the Doctor's story about his encounters with Napoleon Bonaparte, even if she couldn't exactly tell her teacher that Napoleon's final defeat was because he allowed himself to lose to stop Earth being conquered by the Daleks-, but she was even able to gain some very interesting bits of information about some more obscure parts about history when it came to writing her report. Her teacher had already praised her decision to write about Winston Churchill's escape from prison during the Boer War as an original concept by focusing on a more obscure part of his history- she'd had to gloss over some of the fine details about how he'd escaped without talking about the time-travelling alien conspiracy to manipulate human history for their own amusement-, but she still wished that she could write about some of the really unique 'truths' about history that the Doctor had confided in her about.

Still, Amy supposed that was the price you paid for being friends with a time-traveller; you could learn so many secrets of the world around them, but you couldn't share them with anyone if you didn't want to be thought of as insane. It might be amazing to learn that Hitler's secret son had been in charge of a Fourth Reich before it had been discovered and dismantled in 2001, or that Jack the Ripper had been an alien using his murders to control some dark force- the Doctor's manner when discussing those stories suggested that he'd left out some personal details, but what he'd told her was still interesting on its own-, but she couldn't expect anyone else in the world to believe her...

Amy sighed, shaking her head in frustration as she pushed her work away.

Thinking about her homework or thinking about historical secrets wasn't helping her right now; she had to face up to what was really bothering her.

Even if she had no doubt that he deserved it, the fact that she and the Doctor had technically killed someone during their last trip wasn't something that she could just forget, no matter how much she tried to do so.

He might have been a Faction agent, and the Doctor's stories about the Faction had placed emphasis on the fact that 'recruitment' to the Faction typically involved the Faction member killing their own past selves and family to cut themselves out of time meant that he probably hadn't actually existed in that sense, but Amy just couldn't quite get her head around it; time travel might be brilliant as a concept, but thinking about that part of it really made her head hurt...

Besides, even if he didn't 'exist', it didn't change the fact that she'd witnessed a sentient life stop; that was something that she just...

She hadn't been there when her parents... were taken from her..., but she'd still managed to process the idea of them being gone in the end, mainly because it had just been bad luck and a bad accident; it wasn't as easy to process the idea of someone dying because of her, even if he'd been trying to kill her and the Doctor at the time.

The Doctor had assured her that her guilt was a good thing- he wouldn't want to travel with someone who just ignored the consequences of what they sometimes had to do-, but even if she understood his point, it was still hard to accept the idea that she had contributed to ending someone's life, no matter how twisted they were.

As if his death hadn't given her enough to think about, that reference that Cousin Marion had made to her being one of the 'Lost Ones' didn't exactly help her feel much better; the Doctor had mentioned that he was going to try and look into the meaning of that term, but so far he hadn't turned up anything useful, and he was naturally reluctant to try and find rumoured Faction strongholds to find additional information from the source.

Amy would like to believe that Marion had just been trying to freak her out, but something about that phrase...

"Amy," Aunt Sharon's voice suddenly called up to her from the ground floor. "Rory's here."

Rory? Amy thought to herself, the dark thoughts of earlier forgotten at this new visitor; no matter what kind of mood she'd been in during his past visits, spending time with Rory's helpful personality and genuinely good nature always made her feel cheerier.

Pushing her work to the side, Amy hurried downstairs to where her friend was standing in the door- she could hear Aunt Sharon in the kitchen, but she was probably just getting herself something to eat; she knew that Amy could handle her own meals, so they tended to eat separately given their schedules-, looking at her with a disturbingly neutral expression on his face for someone who was usually so expressive (It was one of the reasons Amy had always liked him; Rory always made it clear what he was thinking most of the time, and he'd never considered her insane for talking about her old raggedy friend even if he'd found it odd).

"Hi, Rory," she said, smiling gratefully at him to try and dispel her more immediate doubts; it had been a while since they'd spent much time together outside of school- particularly when they were mostly in separate classes these days; Rory's courses these days focused on sciences while Amy's were in Drama, History and English-, but she was still glad to see him again. "What's up?"

"You forgot?" her friend asked as he looked at her, the slight hint of hope in his expression fading disturbingly quickly.

"Forgot?" Amy repeated, suddenly uncomfortable as she looked back at Rory. "Forgot what?"

"We were going to the cinema tonight," Rory said, looking at her with a slightly hurt expression. "Don't you remember?"

"Oh... it's Thursday already?" Amy asked, looking up at a calendar on a nearby wall and checking the date on her watch; she'd been so caught up with other things that she'd forgotten that she and Rory had been planning to go to the cinema tonight, given the relatively light homework load from today's scheduled classes. "Sorry, lost track of time..."

"It's... it's fine," Rory said, smiling reassuringly at her as he indicated the car outside the house, accepting her explanation with the same ease that had always made him such a good friend. "Dad's ready to take us off anyway, and we've still got time; you just... weren't answering your phone."

"It ran down and I forgot to charge it back up," Amy said, smiling apologetically at her friend as she cursed her own stupidity; she'd grown so used to the Doctor just turning up when he wanted to see her that she'd forgotten that other people would expect her to rely on her phone. "Sorry about that; I lost track of what was happening."

"Fair enough," Rory said, smiling in understanding before he indicated the car once again. "So... you coming?"

"Just let me grab my coat, and I'll be right there," Amy said, smiling back at him before she turned and hurried back up to her room, grabbing her coat and closing her books on each other so that she could find her place later before hurrying back downstairs to join her friend.

Going to a movie might seem like a strange form of release, but Amy felt that she could use it right now; the chance to watch other people have to make life-or-death decisions on a large scale without having to personally worry about the consequences if she made the wrong decisions (She might have only played a minor role in the last crisis, but she or the Doctor could still have died if she'd done something wrong)...

'Relaxing' probably wasn't the exact word to use to describe how she felt about the upcoming trip, but it was the best one that she could think of to use in this situation right now, so she'd go with it until something else came to mind.

It was moments like this, when she had the chance to experience and enjoy the normal life that the Doctor had always told her he admired humanity for being able to live- a world where trips to the cinema to watch people live out incredible lives were the highlight of some peoples' weeks-, that made her almost regret what she had planned; she was really going to miss Rory Williams when she finally left Leadworth to travel with the Doctor...

But she had to.

She just couldn't stay here on Earth after everything that the Doctor had told her about the universe beyond her planet; even the thought of travelling to other countries seemed small compared to the possibility of going to other times and planets in the TARDIS.

Rory would miss her when she left, but it wasn't enough for her to want to remain on Earth when she could go virtually everywhere else in time and space.

Besides, Rory spent too much time with her as it was; maybe once she was gone he'd finally manage to find a decent boyfriend...

AN 2: Just to remind the readers, in the flashbacks of 'Let's Kill Hitler' Amy mentioned that she'd always assumed that Rory was gay before Mels revealed how he felt about her; without Mels in this reality, Amy naturally has no reason to assume that Rory's straight based on available evidence.