A/N I wrote another Doctor/Rory within a week. And I hardly even SHIP them. Oh, god, what is happening? Gah. Okay, so, hello. I won't keep you here long, but, well, REVIEW, and enjoy the story (which I'm actually happy with)! I think of it as "fluffy angst," which makes little to no sense. Whatever. XD

Rated K plus Because, c'mon, kissing isn't all that bad, is it?

Disclaimer I don't own Doctor Who or any associated characters, events, etc.


BEDTIME STORY

"Rory?"

He blinked, slowly bringing himself out of the stupor that had come from staring blankly at the pulsating TARDIS console. "Huh?" His gaze panned over to where the Doctor stood watching him, framed in one of the doors leading out of the control room. Amy was in bed, and that was where Rory ought to be as well, seeing as his watch read three past two. Not that the timekeeping device he carried with him could be trusted at this point. But he'd been here for hours, unable to stop poring endlessly over his thoughts—thoughts of, well, Amy and the Doctor. He didn't like—really didn't like—the casualness with which she treated their marriage, and though he'd been willing to dismiss it before, it had been getting to him lately. Maybe he should just leave the TARDIS. They'd probably be happier without him, after all.

Due to this stagnant state of mind, it was with a rather prickly attitude that he now turned to the Doctor, bristling with hidden frustration. "What do you want?"

The dark-haired alien hesitated in the doorway, looking uncharacteristically anxious. "You've been out here for hours. What's wrong?"

"Nothing." Rory looked away, the lie grating on his throat. Everything.

"You know…" The Doctor took a couple of quick, tentative steps in his direction, and when he didn't react, it was taken as encouragement. Soon, he found the other sitting next to him, seeming a bit concerned about keeping a proper distance. The Doctor was rather stiff, his hands neatly on his lap, ankles crossing and uncrossing a bit obsessively. "You're a pretty impressive man, Rory Williams."

Rory glanced over, frustration dissolving to be replaced by surprise. Where was this coming from? "What do you mean?" he questioned warily.

"Just… well… look at you." The thin shoulders were pulled together in a shrug, and he rocked back and forth in his seat, hands inching down so that his fingers could curl around the edge of the battered cushion. "It's all about Amy a lot of the time, but, well… you—a version of you, that is—you waited for two thousand years to be with her. No, not even that. You were going to be with her no matter what. You waited that long just in order to give her a tiny, tiny increase in percentage of survival chance. She was in the safest place in the universe, but you stayed there, you endured centuries, just to be a little more sure."

Rory was growing uncomfortable. He hated looking back on that time, and now—was the Doctor trying to belittle his efforts somehow by going on about how little effect they really had? He didn't need that right now. Ideally, he'd be receiving praise or even flattery, but to get this instead… the edges of his stomach began to burn again, and he watched the Doctor silently as the latter struggled on.

"Just… just look at you. A completely ordinary nurse from Leadworth. If not for Amy, you'd never have come near the TARDIS. You'd… be nobody."

"What are you trying to say?" Rory cut in suddenly, unable to bear it any longer. He realized that his hands were curled into white-knuckled fists, and tried to loosen them up, to no effect.

"What I'm trying to say is that… well… I'm glad that you came along with Pond. You're… fantastic, Rory, just absolutely brilliant. And I know you've been doubting yourself lately—I can see it. You're worried about me and Amy, aren't you?"

This was a surprisingly acute observation, especially for the usually naïve alien, but Rory did nothing to acknowledge its validity. He was watching the Doctor as he went on, voice animated with enthusiasm, explaining and detailing out how Rory had nothing to worry about, no concerns at all, how Amy absolutely belonged to him and always would, how he, the Doctor, had learned not to grow intimate with humans anyway—he'd made that mistake… he hesitated at this point, and Rory raised his eyebrows in an indication to go on.

"I didn't know that you'd… been involved… with anyone before," he mumbled. Human or otherwise. Well, there was River, who seemed to have some sort of connection to the Doctor that the others could only look in on, but that woman was an enigma in and of herself. Best not to drag the confusion associated with her into this already messy conversation. If it could be called that.

"Well—I haven't been, not… exactly." Now they were both reduced to awkward half-stammers, it seemed. Rory cast his eyes down, shaking his head slightly at nothing. He felt… desperate. Like he was grasping blindly for something, but couldn't quite identify what. Suddenly, Amy wasn't that high on his list of concerns. He became incredibly aware of every detail of the room they were in—the hissing groan of the TARDIS that had long since become background noise as familiar as his own heartbeat, the wideness of the round, golden walls, the proximity of the Doctor, who seemed tenser than ever.

"Not exactly," Rory echoed, forgetting what the words even meant. His mouth was moving thoughtlessly, just doing something to maintain the air between them, to make sure that everything the exchange held delicately in place didn't just collapse.

"Well, she's long gone," was the bitter reply. "Has been for quite a while now… and… well, that's hardly…" He seemed to be struggling with himself, and Rory felt a small pang of sympathy.

"Sorry," he amended quickly. "I didn't mean to… well… it's none of my business." He coughed slightly, reaching a hand up to scratch at his hair. "I just… well… it's nothing."

His face was heating up inexplicably. He shifted his legs just for something to do, his ears picking up the slight creak of leather that ensued from such a movement. "I, er…"

"…Right." The Doctor's deep-set eyes flickered back and forth, first looking at Rory, then his lap, then back at Rory. "Well, I—" He paused midway through the motion of rising before sinking back down on the chair again. A vague sense of awkwardness was spreading through the air, though Rory couldn't quite target where it was coming from. His mind had gone oddly fuzzy, and his stomach was doing something that made him wonder just what he'd been fed for lunch earlier that day. His mind flexed, searching for the information of where or even when they'd been around that hour, but came up blank. He was having difficulty focusing on things.

"Why were you… why did you say those things about me?" he asked then, overly aware of how low and shaky his voice had suddenly become.

"I, well—because they're true, of course." An uncertain smile half-materialized on the Doctor's lips before melting away, clearly determining that the present moment wasn't the best time for it.

"You really think I'm that… fantastic or whatever?"

"Absolutely."

Both of their voices were growing softer. Rory's breathing was getting heavier, as well, and his heart was racing like a trapped bird. He wasn't sure just was happening, and didn't know if he liked it all that much, either. It was… the sort of feeling that he got… around Amy. She wasn't here, though, and the thought of her was… almost sickly sweet, somehow, unappetizing and just… the wrong flavor for the moment. He just wanted to think of the Doctor, of floppy, dark hair instead of sleek ginger locks, a man's English voice instead of a woman's Scottish tones, speaking of complex scientific concepts that Rory could never get a grasp on, of a million different worlds, the history of which the two—no, three, the three—of them could visit together, of people that he'd met… people that, apparently, he'd kind of not really fallen in love with, who were long gone now…

All gone now.

The phrase yours for the taking flitted through Rory's mind, but he didn't pause to think about what it might imply. Each inhalation was an effort for him, as though he was pulling in syrup rather than air, or perhaps like his lungs were weighed down with rocks—rocks or, maybe, a swollen, heavy heart, pushing against his ribs, threatening suffocation…

"Doctor," he whispered, the sound rough and uncoordinated next to the steady thrumming of the TARDIS, "I… I need…" He couldn't finish the sentence. He didn't know what he needed, and expected to hear a questioning reply, something seeking farther detail. But he got nothing of that sort.

"So do I," the Doctor breathed.

"I…" His hand, suddenly, was moving, seemingly of their own accord. He wanted to feel the Doctor's hair. It sudden held him in utter captivation—it was so… dark, so silky-looking. Fingers drifted up, threaded through the soft strands, and it was only then that he realized just how close together the two of them were.

Just a short journey to turning the gesture into a kiss.

Rory Williams wasn't the bold type, but the next move was a dare to himself, from the very same. As soon as the thought to do it materialized in his mind, he was, leaning forward, closing and sealing that distance between them, his free hand curling around the Doctor's shoulder as, heart banging off the inside of his chest, he pressed their lips together.

There was one moment, a single, eternal, burningly electric moment in which everything seemed to hang suspended. Like the peak of a roller coaster, with everything about to come crashing down, but when, for a moment, everything is held together, the most delicate of things, a final pause before chaos.

But chaos didn't come. Instead of the roller coaster shooting back down, it was going up, farther, flying through the air into sweet sunlight, the surface of clouds below it as solid as earth, because the Doctor wasn't pushing him away or even jumping back, not at all, but rather taking Rory's head in his own hands, guiding it gently sideways so that their faces fit together better, administering a bit more pressure in the lip area, but not too much, just enough to serve as a reassurance, a promise that everything was fine, better than fine—everything was perfect, this was how things were supposed to be…

It lasted for a while. Quite a while, and Rory wasn't complaining, that was for certain. There simply didn't seem to be any reason to stop. Words were long since abandoned, and his mind was completely consumed by the present moment, everything that was happening, and the absolute wonder of it. He'd never been the one to start a kiss. Amy had gone in first, when it was the two of them… this was a fascinating new venture. And Amy—oh, Amy… she seemed so far away now, just a flicker of a shadow on the horizon, insignificant, irrelevant, unthreatening. There would be some way to get past her—never mind that she was his wife, there would have to be.

Maybe it was the realization that there wasn't that started to end things.

Her name was ringing through his mind, Amy, Amy, Amy, dragging him slowly back down to reality like an anchor. Something spread through his insides, turning them sour and nauseous, and then he found himself pulling back. He was shaking, he noticed confusedly. Shaking quite hard. The Doctor seemed steadier, though his face was unusually flushed. Rory actually liked it. It added color, added humanity.

"I…" he began, with no end to the sentence in mind.

The Doctor sighed wordlessly and gripped the back of Rory's head, slowly tilting it down towards his shoulder. Rory squeezed his eyes shut and inhaled the alien's scent through his jacket, trying to concentrate on the rough feel of the soft fabric. "I don't want it to end," he mumbled, trying to calm his madly shuddering body. A hand caressed his shoulder blade, and he let out a slow, rasping breath, his own hands, now dangling loosely, trembling.

"Neither do I," the Doctor responded gently.

"Why is it like this?" Rory asked, feeling like a tiny child, ignorant and brimming with questions. "Why does the only time that matters have to go by so fast? Why can't we… I don't know… rewind this?"

"Because then it wouldn't be so special," the other responded matter-of-factly. "It's okay, though. We have until the morning. Until Amy gets up."

"Not gonna be able to stay awake." His words were muffled against the tweed of the Doctor's jacket.

"Do you want to go to bed, then?"

As if on cue, Rory was consumed by a sudden wave of exhaustion, an urge to escape this reality, just to have a few hours to dream before everything truly solidified again.

"I… I think so. I'm tired…"

The journey to his bed passed by in a vague blur, as though he was half-asleep already. When he fully became aware of his surroundings again, it was to find the warm form of a sleeping Amy beside him and blankets pulled tight up to his chin.

I don't want to be here. Not with her. Not right now.

His eyes found the door just in time to see it swing shut, but not before he caught a glimpse of an ancient, exhausted-looking man, shoulders slumped and head hanging, slipping out through the shadows.